A police dog has been honored with a prestigious award for bravery, after being slashed with a knife as he twice brought an armed assailant to the ground. Bacca is being presented with the PDSA's Gold Medal – which the charity regards as the animal equivalent of the George Cross – in a ceremony at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday.
The now retired West Mercia Police dog sustained multiple injuries as he continued to tackle a man armed with a 10-inch knife, even after his handler, PC Mike Davey, was stabbed.
PC Davey, who has now retired from the force, was hurt while responding to reports of a man acting in a violent and unpredictable manner earlier in June.
In hopes of protecting several bystanders, PC Davey released Bacca in an attempt to disarm the man, who was seen to harm himself.
But the male immediately attacked Bacca with the knife, slashing and hacking at his head. Officers then used a spray in an attempt to incapacitate the suspect, but it had no effect.
Both PC Davey and Bacca then received several knife wounds before the man managed to break free and run down an alleyway. Bacca wrestled the attacker to the ground, incurring further stab wounds in the process. Again, the suspect freed himself but Bacca caught him once more and managed to hold him until he could be handcuffed.
He needed emergency veterinary treatment for his injuries.
“Seeing Bacca recognized with such a prestigious award is truly fantastic," PC Davey, who also required medical attention to a deep wound on his hand, said.
Retired West Mercia Police dog handler Pc Mike Davey and Bacca (Jacob King/PA)
“A year on from the incident and I am still in awe of his actions that night. He was attacked, repeatedly, and seriously injured, yet he continued to do his job," Davey said. "To me it highlights what a truly remarkable police dog he was throughout his career. He was there when I needed him – as he was for the eight years we worked together, and still is now in retirement – and I have no doubt that he saved my life that night."
“Bacca's unstinting devotion to duty and determination to protect his handler, despite sustaining serious injuries, makes him a worthy recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal," PDSA director of veterinary services, Richard Hooker, said. “The PDSA Animal Awards program seeks to raise the status of animals in society and honor the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Bacca's heroics are an extraordinary example of this and his bravery deserves the highest possible recognition.
“We are also thrilled that the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, widely known as Finns Law, after a fellow PDSA Gold Medal recipient, recently came into force," he continued. “This gives greater protection to service animals like Bacca, who are deliberately attacked or injured in the line of duty."
The man charged in connection with the incident later died before he was due to stand trial.
The West Mercia Police Federation has previously praised Bacca's bravery and determination to protect the public.