A five-year-old German Shepherd who was stabbed while attending an incident with West Mercia Police is being honoured by veterinary charity PDSA.

PD Canto and his handler Police Constable Emma Worrall were called to an incident last year in which a man was armed with a knife.

PD Canto in action

PC Worrall explained, “As soon as we entered the property, we were confronted by the man, wielding a large kitchen knife. I released my hold on Canto’s collar and gave him the command to bite and detain.

“Canto leapt towards the man as commanded, but rather than bite, he fell to the floor. I was shocked because Canto is an experienced dog, and it was unlike him not to carry out my commands.”

PD Canto’s barking distracted the man long enough for officers armed with tasers to take control of the situation, but PD Canto then fled to another room. Concerned, Emma followed and was shocked to discover that Canto had a serious stab wound to his chest.

Emma recalls, “My hands were covered in Canto’s blood. I couldn’t believe that he had been stabbed while trying to do his job.

“As he was still able to stand, I put him on his lead and ran to my car, shouting to my colleagues what had happened.”

Emma drove PD Canto to Haygate Veterinary Practice in Wellington for emergency treatment. Vets immediately operated on the eight-inch wound across his chest.

Fortunately, he was able to return home with Emma the day after his operation and after a well-earned break to recuperate, he returned to work.

PC Emma Worrall and PD Canto with his PDSA Commendation

PD Canto and Emma went to PDSA’s Head Office, Telford where he was presented with the award by the charity’s Director General, Jan McLoughlin, who commented on his ‘exceptional contribution to our local police force.’

PDSA’s Director General, Jan McLoughlin, says, “PD Canto’s story really highlights the vital role that police dog teams play in local policing and demonstrates the perils they can face. I’m honoured to present him with the PDSA Commendation for his actions that night and to celebrate his contribution to our local police force.”

PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin with PC Emma Worrall and PD Canto

Discussing PD Canto’s award, Emma adds, “I am so proud of Canto for being awarded the PDSA Commendation. He is an exceptional Police Dog with a fantastic temperament. He visits schools and enjoys having a fuss from the children, while also having the ability and drive to work competently in serious situations while on duty. I thought I’d lost him that day, so to see him here with his award is a very special moment.”

The PDSA Commendation is part of PDSA’s Animal Awards Programme, which comprises the PDSA Dickin Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the PDSA Gold Medal, known as the animal’s George Cross and the PDSA Order of Merit, the animal’s OBE.

To date, the PDSA Commendation has been awarded to 120 animals, including dogs, horses, cats and a rabbit.

Photos: PDSA

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