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Eight-year-old German Shepherd PD Axle has been honoured by leading vet charity PDSA, after he sustained life-threatening injuries tackling an armed criminal whilst on duty.
Earlier today, Axle was presented with an award at the Dog Section at police Headquarters at Ripley with his handler Police Constable Dean Allen, for his work at an incident back in 2018 where the duo were called to help apprehend a man who was armed with a hammer and knife.
Twenty eight-year-old Matthew Stretch smashed the windows of a police vehicle and tried to assault the officer inside.
Stretch then ran from the area while still in possession of the knife, triggering a search that involved firearms officers and the police helicopter.
He was eventually cornered in woodland by PD Axle. During the incident, Stretch stabbed Axle three times, before he was quickly confronted by armed police. After threatening another officer with the knife, he was subdued with a taser and arrested.
PC Allen explained: "I couldn’t be prouder of Axle. He is an exceptional Police Dog who has displayed great courage and skill throughout his six years’ of service with Derbyshire Police.
"I was worried he wouldn’t make it through that night, so to see him not only make a full recovery, but return to duty as well shows how special he is. It is a real honour to see him receive this award.”
PD Axle was rushed to a local vet where he received emergency treatment for wounds to his neck and body. He returned home following an operation and after a well-earned spell of recuperation, re-joined PC Allen at work.
The charity’s Area Vet Manager Rob Haselgrove presented PD Axle with his PDSA Commendation for devotion to duty and bravery during the incident, which occurred in July last year.
PDSA’s Principal of Regional Vet Services, John Faulkner said: “The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways they enrich our lives. PD Axle showed remarkable bravery in tackling an armed criminal that night.
“His story really highlights the vital role that Police Dog teams play and demonstrates the perils they can face. I’m honoured to present him with his PDSA Commendation, which celebrates his vital contribution to Derbyshire Police.”