A former police dog handler cannot go near a dog again after a traumatic attack left him with severe physical and phycological damage.
Stamford grandfather and animal lover Graham Trayling has been compensated by the Ministry of Defence Police after he was bitten on the groin by a vicious dog, which should have been deemed unfit for service.
The 63-year-old, who’d previously worked as a dog handler with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years was helping a colleague train while employed as a police officer and dog instructor at the MDP.
He had to be taken to hospital for treatment, with the injury causing him to suffer from a urinary tract infection for months.
While the physical injuries eventually healed, he had to have counselling for over a year to help manage post-traumatic stress.
It later transpired that the dog had been violent with another handler and was not fit-for-service. But instead of removing the dog from duty, the MDP decided to castrate it and pass it on to another officer.
Mr Trayling said: “The sad thing is, I absolutely loved my job, and now I can’t go near a dog again.
“I never returned to dog handling and I never will.
“In any other police force, you know the history of the dog you’re training – you know its parents and you know its history – but in the Ministry of Defence Police, you’re left in the dark.”
After the attack, he sought help from Thompsons Solicitors and his union, The Defence Police Federation, who helped him to secure a settlement package.
Henrietta Phillips from Thompsons added: “The MDP could have had a system that meant the handlers knew the complete history of the dog they were training, but instead they thought veterinary intervention would be the solution here. Instead, the result meant a dedicated dog handler was forced to retire early, from a job he clearly loved, and has been left with significant psychological issues as a result.”
Mr Trayling, who now works as a bus driver in Lincolnshire, added: “Thompsons and my union were absolutely outstanding. They stuck by the case and believed in it from start to finish, which is why we got this result in the end.
“I hope my settlement will result in a change of culture and practice within the organisation so that they show a proper duty of care to the people who work there, and I hope any more victims employed by the MDP bring their case to Thompsons.”
An MOD spokesperson said: “We take the welfare of all our employees very seriously and would always seek to learn and improve on our processes.”