From Chaos to pride of place

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Unique memorial for police dogs that have passed away has been officially unveiled

A police dog caught up in a terrifying armed raid in which his handler was shot will be named on a memorial at Lancashire Constabulary’s dog unit.

Invaluable service: The unique memorial for Lancashire Constabulary police dogs that have passed away is officially unveiled by Lancashire's former Chief Constable Pauline Claire, right, with Sgt Neil Fitzgerald, Sheila Maw and Gail Stanley with Lex. (Picture: NEIL CROSS)

Invaluable service: The unique memorial for Lancashire Constabulary police dogs that have passed away is officially unveiled by Lancashire's former Chief Constable Pauline Claire, right, with Sgt Neil Fitzgerald, Sheila Maw and Gail Stanley with Lex. (Picture: NEIL CROSS)

Courageous canine Chaos was with PC Katie Johnson when she was shot in the leg at the Hospital Inn, Bamber Bridge, near Preston, on New Year’s Eve 2007.

Chaos died earlier this year and a tribute to the dog is set to take pride of place on the new memorial.

Today PC Johnson, said: “Chaos will be named on it at some point. It’s brilliant, it’s a really good idea.

“After what Chaos went through to remember him is really good.

“He had two handlers before me so they will remember him too.”

Gunman Wayne McDonald, formerly of Didsbury, Manchester, David Tyrell, of Factory Street, Tyldesley, Rudolf Mancini,of Division Lane, Blackpool, and the pub’s former chef Peter Plaskowski of Dean Street, Bamber Bridge, were given various jail terms for their involvement.

The memorial was officially unveiled this week by former Chief Constable Pauline Clare.

It has been funded by the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund which Pauline Clare helped to establish during her time in post.

Dog trainer Sgt Neil Fitzgerald said: “Police dogs are an integral part of operational policing within Lancashire and provide an invaluable service to our county; therefore it is right that they should be recognised by way of this memorial.

“The names of those police dogs which have passed away will be added to the memorial so that the people who knew and loved them can visit and pay their respects.

“We are very grateful to the Benevolent Fund for making this happen.”

The people behind the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund are a small group of animal welfare supporters, some of whom are members of the Lancashire Constabulary Welfare Committee for police dogs and horses.

Over the years they have been able to assist numerous people with the cost of veterinary expenses for their retired dogs – ranging from severe illness, minor operations to a recent share of the cost of hip replacement in a dog that was about to retire.

Sgt Fitzgerald added: “When a police dog retires from active service, they often retire to their handler who then has to take over the financial responsibility of caring for them.

“In some cases, dogs are retired at a young age due to illness or injury and veterinary and medication bills can be incredibly expensive.

“Historically, some dogs have had to be re-homed when their owners couldn’t afford the bills, so the Benevolent Fund was created to assist handlers and adoptees, where necessary, so that the dog can stay with the family it loves and trusts.”

Until recently, the Benevolent Fund has had to limit its help to within Lancashire, but it is now being extended to include any retired Lancashire police dogs that are adopted out of the county where there is a need.

Sheila Maw, chairman of the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been able to make this memorial happen. We are also willing to assist any other county interested in setting up a similar scheme for these worthy ‘non-pensioned officers’ with four legs.

“We survive solely on donations, legacies and fund-raising events.”

The Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund can be contacted on 01254 823136.