London Fire Brigade

Brigade pooches named as top dogs at Animal Hero Awards

08 September 2017

The Brigade’s fire investigation dogs received a huge round of a-paws as they were named top dogs at the Animal Hero Awards 2017.

Sherlock, Murphy and Roscoe were honoured for their service to London at the star-studded awards ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel on Thursday 7th September.

The dogs were nominated for the Public Service Animal of the Year award following their involvement in assisting fire investigators at the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June this year.

Fitted with special shoes to protect their paws from sharp items and debris, the fire dogs entered the charred remains of the tower block helping their fire investigator handlers.

Dog handlers Paul Osborne and Mick Boyle, accompanied by their four-legged companions, were presented with the award by TV stars Richard Hammond and Amanda Holden.

Sherlock’s handler Paul said: “It is an honour to be presented with this award and I am incredibly proud that our dogs have been recognised for their work.

“Sherlock never fails to amaze me every time we go out on a job together and I feel a great sense of pride when he finds something which helps with a criminal investigation.”

Part of the team

Sherlock, Murphy and Roscoe attend an average of between 180 and 230 incidents a year.

They are highly trained animals who can identify ten ignitable substances, whether they are burnt, evaporated or neat, to determine whether an accelerant was used and whether a blaze was started deliberately.

The work of fire dogs speeds up investigations and keeps costs down as they are much more efficient at detection than a machine. They can also cover a large area quickly and get into awkward and small spaces.

There are only 14 dogs in the whole country trained to do this work.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “Our dogs are an incredibly valuable asset to the Brigade. Using their keen sense of smell, which is more accurate than a machine has helped the Brigade Fire Investigation Team find the cause of thousands of fires, including the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.”

Keeping the people of London safe

Five-year-old cocker spaniel Murphy and 13-year-old springer spaniel Roscoe retired along with their handler Mick, who had completed 30 years of service with the Brigade, in August.

Mick became one of the Brigade’s first dog handlers 12 years ago, taking on Roscoe. He later added Murphy to the team in 2013. Between them, the dogs have attended more than 2,000 incidents.

Speaking when he retired, Mick said: “The dogs are all about keeping the people of London safe and they have been an exceptional success.

“One of my proudest moments was Roscoe being named Animal of the Year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare last year. He has done incredibly good work for the people of London and it’s nice he got recognition.”