Hero dog to receive medal for role in Paris attacks probe

The French police dog killed in a raid to capture the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris that left 130 dead is to be awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

Diesel, whose death prompted the phrase Je Suis Chien to go viral on social media, will be posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery and devotion to duty.

The seven-year-old Belgian shepherd dog died from multiple gunshot wounds on 18 November, five days after the attacks, when he was sent into a building to find attackers.

His actions will be rewarded with the highest animal honour by the vet charity PDSA next year.

PDSA director-general Jan McLoughlin said: "Following the tragic terrorist events in Paris last month, where many innocent people lost their lives, Diesel was instrumental in helping the French police locate and deal with the perpetrators.

"When news emerged of Diesel's death there was a huge outpouring of grief. As guardians of the world's most prestigious animal awards programme, we were inundated by messages from members of the public to recognise his heroism.

"The PDSA Dickin Medal recognises conspicuous devotion to duty in the theatre of conflict and Diesel is a truly deserving recipient. His gallant actions helped to protect human life in the face of imminent danger and we are very proud to honour him in this way."

The medal has been awarded to 30 dogs (including Diesel), 32 Second World War messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat since its introduction by PDSA founder Maria Dickin in 1943.

The first recipient was White Vision, a pigeon who delivered a message that enabled the rescue of a crew that had ditched in October 1943.

Diesel's handler, who cannot be named for security reasons, described the dog's final moments after he was sent in to a flat thought to have included the attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

He said: "After a few minutes we decided to send in the dog to see if the zone was clear.

"He did a tour of the first room, then he went into the second room and dashed forward. I think he'd found someone. Then I lost sight of him and the gunfire started again.

"His role was to open the way for the rest of us. He uses all his senses to detect if anyone is present and if he can get to them, to go and bite them. If not, he stands and barks to indicate where the person is hiding.

"I had absolute confidence in him, and him in me. Both of us knew how the other would behave in the situation."

Earlier this month Russia handed a two-month-old German Shepherd called Dobrynya to the French to replace Diesel in a show of solidarity.

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