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Two dogs that protected Prince William put to sleep after he leaves service

Updated: 2013-09-19T16:23:00Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

Brus was a Belgian shepherd. Blade was a German shepherd.

Whenever Prince William was working at his Royal Air Force base, the two guard dogs provided extra security to help keep him safe.

No longer needed now that William has completed his service, the military dogs were put to sleep last week, according to the BBC.

The front page of London’s Sun newspaper announced the news with this front-page headline: “Rexecuted.”

The country’s Ministry of Defense defended its decision, claiming that the dogs could not be redeployed or placed in homes after nearly four years of service to William.

Seven-and-a-half-year-old Brus was “at the end of his working life,” the ministry said.

Nine-and-a-half-year-old Blade reportedly had “behavioral issues” and spine and hip problems that prevented him from being reassigned to another military job.

Britain’s Sun newspaper reported that the dogs were “in a two-dog section set up specifically to protect William,” and the twosome would “(patrol) the station to protect military personnel, equipment and facilities.”

But a ministry spokesman said that the timing of the dogs’ deaths on Sept. 13 – just days after William finished his military duties as a search and rescue pilot in North Wales – was purely coincidental.

“To be clear they were RAF Valley security patrol dogs, not sole protection for Prince William,” a military source told London’s Daily Mail.

"The department's policy is to rehome all military working dogs at the end of their service life wherever practicable. Regrettably, however, there are occasions when they have to be put down. This action is only ever taken as a last resort."

Britain’s Dogs Trust, which calls itself the country’s largest dog rescue group, said the dogs were “not pieces of disposable kit that can be decommissioned at the end of their 'useful' military life.”

Acknowledging that not all dogs can find new homes after their military service, there are other alternatives such as retirement with a specialized handler, the group said.

“Although it is impossible for Dogs Trust to speculate about the decisions made about Brus and Blade, we would have hoped that the loyalty the dogs had shown their handlers during their working life was reciprocated at the time of their retirement," the group said in a statement.

Prince William has not commented on the situation.

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