View Full Version : Update on Saxon - remember him?

8th August 2006, 11:43 PM
Taken from the South Wales Argus.....

Jail could be a lifeline for Saxon
By Ben Payne

LIFELINE: Saxon the police dog with handler Mike Townley. The Prison Service says it could give Saxon work

A POLICE dog's life could be saved today if he is given work by the Prison Service.

An Internet campaign, Save our Saxon, was launched after news that Saxon, a five-year-old German shepherd, could be put down.

Hundreds of animal lovers across Wales, the UK, Spain and even Illinois, in the USA, sent protest emails to Gwent Police, who branded him "dangerous".

A spokesman for the force said Saxon's future, which was "under consideration" after nearly four years' service, would be decided today.

And she said there was a chance he could be saved.

"Saxon will be assessed by HM Prison Service with a view to working with them," she said.

"Such a move would enable Saxon to continue to use skills acquired in a more closely controlled environment where access to the general public is restricted."

But Caroline Townley, whose dog handler husband, PC Mike Townley, has worked with Saxon for four years, said she was against a transfer to the Prison Service. She is desperate to save him and keep him as a family pet.

She said: "If his licence has been withdrawn and not to be re-issued as a police dog, how can this dangerous' dog be licensed with the Prison Service?

"There is no guarantee that will be acceptable in Saxon's mind as no-one can take Mike's place in his eyes."

Mrs Townley, of Nantyglo, said because her house was in the "middle of nowhere" Saxon would cause no harm.


8th August 2006, 11:58 PM
What shocking logic!! From their point of view, the safety of inmates is less important than the general public?? IF the dog was indeed dangerous, that logic is akin to using inmates as test subjects for dangerous drug testing and the like. If it saves the dog's life, that's one thing; the message about the culture's valuation of human life is quite another.

9th August 2006, 08:39 AM
What shocking logic!! From their point of view, the safety of inmates is less important than the general public?? IF the dog was indeed dangerous, that logic is akin to using inmates as test subjects for dangerous drug testing and the like. If it saves the dog's life, that's one thing; the message about the culture's valuation of human life is quite another.

good point. this case is really appalling. I guess there have probably been many of these, and this one has just come to attention because of Mrs Townley.

9th August 2006, 11:34 AM

The Prison dogs that are trained for aggression and protection aren't used in day to day contact with the inmates. They are used to patrol the perimeter fence and grounds also if there is a hostage situation that can't be resolved by negotiation then they may possibly use the dogs. The dog would more than likely have to be retrained :(

Rest assured, the darling inmates are only in contact with the passive dogs and even then they complained in some prisons that the dogs were leaving footprints on their beds during routine drug searches and the handlers had to use boots on them :roll:

Maybe prison life here is different to USA. I know one thing, the US Prisons wouldn't put up with half the nonsense that goes on in UK prisons - none of our officers are armed for a start :roll:

9th August 2006, 02:27 PM
Ah, I see. I was thinking more along the lines of dog handling, a program we have here where inmates are paired with a dog and train it. It is supposed to help teach them compassion and responsibility, as well as helping out the dogs. I was not necessarily thinking guard dog responsibilities since the dog was already dismissed by the police.

Whatever people's opinions are of folks in prison, they are still human beings in my eyes and deserve the respect and treatment all humans deserve. All I really know about the UK prison system are videos of the riots that broke out many years ago. My husband says the prisons are overcrowded there, but that's the extent of my knowledge of UK prisons.

I know a bit more of the US prison system, and there are things that go on in the system that arent desireable. For starters, I know many people who dont agree with armed guards. They'd consider the UK system much more advanced on that issue.

9th August 2006, 03:03 PM
We don't have dogs as inmates pets over here - our officers have enough to do as it is without something else to worry about. the prisoners get virtually everything else they want though :roll:

Yes Moviedust, they are still humans but unfortunately most of them don't think of their victims in that way :x Neither, most of the time do the authorities :x

Unfortunately I am in a position to know more than enough about the Prison system here - and before you ask, no I'm not related to a convict :lol:

As for the armed guards I think the reason we don't have them is because we don't really need them. The security systems in most of our prisons is so tight that inmates rarely manage to get weapons smuggled in to them or things to fashion weapons out of. Maybe the security over there is more lax? I don't know but I do know that the general layout of the Priosn over there is far removed from the layout here.

I have a friend whose hubby is the top guy in a Prison over in USA (sorry can't rmemeber what they call him now) and he's told me of their layouts and the reasons they have problems and other things. Other than that, I am not in a position to comment.

9th August 2006, 03:20 PM
Had me laughing at the before you ask - are you sure??????????????

9th August 2006, 06:58 PM
Had me laughing at the before you ask - are you sure??????????????

Well, if I went back a few generations..... you never know :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin:

I have had a nice bounce around in a padded cell, Claire ;) It was lovely and I could do with one to escape to in my back garden :lol:

9th August 2006, 09:14 PM
Setback for Saxon campaign

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Saxon the police dog with his handler Mike Townley.

THE campaign to save an unwanted police dog suffered a major blow yesterday.

Five-year-old German shepherd Saxon's future has been at risk since he was branded "dangerous" by Gwent Police and withdrawn from service earlier this year after four years with them.

Hundreds of people have backed a Save Our Saxon campaign amid fears he could be put down.

There was hope yesterday after he was assessed to see if he would be suitable as a prison guard dog.

But a Gwent Police spokeswoman said: "Saxon was assessed by HM Prison Service who concluded he is not suitable as a potential prison patrol dog.

"Gwent Police will now review the situation and explore other options for Saxon's future.

"He is currently being cared for at police kennels alongside other police dogs receiving the same high standards of care and exercise."

Saxon's former handler Mike Townley and his wife Caroline, from Nantyglo, want to keep the dog instead of it being put down.

Mrs Townley said the reason Saxon did not pass the assessment was because Mr Townley was not with him.

She said: "Saxon's too good to be destroyed. He means an awful lot to me and my husband."

She said the wait to find out what will happen to Saxon was "horrendous" and added: "Mike has been really ill over this, it's very stressful.

He's the person who gave Saxon a chance."

12:57pm today

27th December 2006, 11:31 PM
Just thought you might all like an update. I have found a page that gives more details of this little man's future...


I'm just glad he's not being destroyed but given another chance. At the end of the day, it was the Police who trained him and taught him aggression.....

28th December 2006, 03:13 AM
I have been very reliably informed that there was a LOT more to this story than ever made the newspapers, and that this isn't quite as simple as just saving the life of a 'worthy' dog. There are some questionable personalities involved.

At least some problems with the dog are believed to be due to the way in which he has previously been handled by the handler (note the admission in the BBC article below that he corrected him 'too harshly' thus was bit twice.... icon_nwunsure ). There is no intention to return this dog to the handler for several reasons, according to UK rescue sources familiar with this case. Also see:


There has also not been an intention to put the dog down but to safely rehome him.

This from his evaluation by a well-recognised expert in the UK:

I consider from my observation of Saxon that he has been failed by the police system generally and in particular by his primary handler for failing to keep up to the required operational standards and criteria for licensing of police dogs. I am also concerned that the handler’s management has not insisted on up to date concise training records to evidence the fact that ongoing training was being carried out.

The evaluator also made this comment on his own webpage:

For all those people who have campaigned tirelessly to save this dog’ s life, I think you will be pleased with the outcome. I would however point out, that anybody who really believes that this dog is a cute and cuddly Teddy bear is a genuinely out of touch with reality as in the wrong hands this dog could cause a lot of damage and as such I can in some ways understand the original standpoint from Gwent Police as to the dogs inability to be re homed .

During the dog stay with us we have addressed several issues that gave his original handler cause for concern and have modified his behaviour and training to make him somewhat more controllable and less un predictable.

I hope that in the not too distant future a suitable home in a controlled environment can be found for Saxon as my belief is the dog would be a very great asset if teamed up with an experienced professional handler within the security sector.

from http://www.a1k9.co.uk/PoliceDogSaxonTheFinalAssessment.asp

28th December 2006, 03:21 AM
BBC article from mid October:

Police dog spared death sentence

A police dog who twice bit his own handler will not be put down after all.

But Saxon will not be allowed to live with the constable, who backed a campaign to save the Gwent Police Alsatian deemed unfit for duty.

The five-year-old dog's latest and final assessment found that he should be with an experienced handler in a working environment.

Pc Mike Townley, who is on sick leave with stress, said: "His life has been saved and that's just fantastic."

He added: "He is a working dog and I wish him well in his future."

Mr Townley said his wife launched the campaign to save Saxon after the dog faced being put down because Gwent Police considered the dog "unsafe".

Saxon will not be put to sleep, but will be re-homed
Councillor John Williams

Caroline Townley said her family owed Saxon a debt of gratitude as he had saved her husband's life on several occasions, include one when the officer was attacked by a man wielding an axe.

She accepted Saxon had bitten her husband twice while they worked together from 2003 to 2006, but said Pc Townley had been at fault on both occasions as he had been reprimanding the dog too harshly.

Saxon faced being put down when his licence as police dog was withdrawn by the force.


Following Mrs Townley's campaign, police offered the dog to the prison service, but Saxon failed to impress there as a guard dog.

The force put Saxon through a "final" four-week assessment after representations from Gwent Police Authority's animal welfare committee.

Committee chairman John Williams, said: "Gwent Police has accepted fully the findings of this latest report and can confirm that as a result, Saxon will not be put to sleep, but will be re-homed.

"Although the force will not seek to renew Saxon's licence as a general purpose police dog, he will continue to serve as a working dog.

"Saxon will be placed into an environment outside of Gwent Police - working only with an experienced handler."

He added: "The assessment report categorically states that Saxon should not be placed in a 'pet environment,' effectively ruling out a domestic placement with his ex-handler".

Mr Williams said the force also accepted criticism from the report of its dog training and was working with an experienced assessor.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/10/16 19:09:26 GMT

3rd January 2007, 01:11 AM
This whole story still makes me sick. I am glad they are saving his life..

To me I see it as Kosmo's going to be a therapy dog.. so lets say he gets his certification in June (PG.) So he does lets say 10 years of therapy work.. then when he's finished or "retired," he's no longer fit to work and has to be put down? I realize police and therapy work are two completely different subjects but it seems very harsh to me to just kill the dog after it's been released from duty. That would be like executing a spy because he knows confidential information from another country.. :shock: If the handler wanted to keep him that bad then they should ensure that the owner has means of containment and will meet all of the dog's needs. I do believe that the dog can be reconditioned to be a family pet.

Good Luck Saxon! :flwr: