By Chris King • 23 February 2022 • 3:29
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A German shorthaired pointer who worked as a sniffer dog for the RAF in war zones in Afghanistan, in a ceremony in London this Tuesday, February 22, became the 74th animal to be awarded the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal.
This prestigious honour is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest possible recognition during military combat.
Hertz was born in Croatia, and aged one, after showing exceptional skills in detecting drugs, was given a pioneering role of sniffing out ‘personal electronic devices’ such as GPS devices, SIM cards, and mobile phones. He is the only sniffer dog to have ever been able to do this.
“‘In terms of British military working dogs, he is a one-off”, commented his handler, and trainer, warrant officer Jonathan Tanner. “He’s very much a unique animal”, he added proudly.
After spending two months with Hertz, he was ready to start work, going on to sniff out more than 100 devices during his military career. His task involved locating mobile devices that were being used to ‘pass messages and data and details to people on the outside that might pose a threat to those on the inside of camp’, explained his handler.
“It was a capability that in the British military had never been tried before. It was something that we’d never even considered before”, Mr Tanner pointed out. In a 13-month period, Hertz patrolled successfully around locations in Helmand, Kabul, and inside Camp Bastion.
Jan McLoughlin, director-general of the PDSA, said, “Hertz is a truly remarkable animal hero, and a trailblazer in his field. His exceptional skills undoubtedly protected troops from the ever-evolving advances in digital intelligence”.
Adding, “His actions changed the course of countless missions, saving the lives of military personnel and civilians. For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honoured to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal”, as reported by metro.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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