Heroic French police dog, Diesel, who was tragically killed as he led a raid on a Paris terror cell last month, is to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal – recognised worldwide as the animals’ Victoria Cross.
The medal was instituted by the UK charity, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), in 1943 and it is the highest animal honour in the world and Diesel’s will be the 66th PDSA Dickin Medal to be awarded.
Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, served with the French National Research, Assistance, Intervention and Deterrence special anti-terrorism force (RAID).
On the morning of Wednesday 18 November, five days after the Paris attacks which killed 130 people, the French national police forces, including RAID, were involved in a security operation in the suburb of St-Denis.
Major RULP Jean-Marc Lenglet from the French National Police, said: "Diesel’s handler has been deeply affected by the death of his dog, as have many thousands of well-wishers who sent messages of condolence for Diesel who died in the service of his country."
The formal presentation of Diesel’s PDSA Dickin Medal will be made in 2016. 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."
Since the introduction of the medal by PDSA founder Maria Dickin CBE in 1943 it has been awarded to 30 dogs (including Diesel), 32 World War Two messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.