First police dog at Manchester Arena attack honoured with ‘animal OBE’
British Transport Police dog Mojo will receive the honour at a ceremony later this month.
The first police dog on the scene at the Manchester Arena bombing will be awarded an “animal OBE” for his devotion to duty.
British Transport Police (BTP) dog Mojo will receive the PDSA Order of Merit at a ceremony later this month organised by the veterinary charity.
Mojo and his handler Pc Phil Healy, who is now his owner, were the first dog team to arrive on May 22 last year.
The pair began searching the concourse of Manchester’s Victoria train station before moving into the arena.
Pc Healy said: “Mojo was working well but he was somehow different. It was as though he didn’t want to be there among the carnage that surrounded him.
“But despite this he worked on, clearing the area so that the firearms unit could move out of the area safely.”
The pair searched for secondary devices among the abandoned items in the arena, to secure the area and ensure the safety of emergency services working at the scene.
Pc Healy and Mojo were later joined by other dog teams and together they searched the whole arena until 7am the following morning.
Mojo will be the 20th recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit, which has been awarded to seven dogs and 10 horses.
The ceremony will also recognise the work of two Greater Manchester Fire Service dogs, Cracker and Echo, whose awards were announced in August.
BTP Inspector Paul Miles nominated Mojo, who retired from British Transport Police duties in August, for the award.
He said: “I am so proud to see Mojo recognised by PDSA in this way. He acted in the finest traditions of policing, under circumstances that you can never fully train for.
“Pc Healy and Mojo have made a stellar team in their time together and, as Mojo adapts to a life of retirement, it’s a wonderful moment to pause and reflect on his service and actions.”
Nigel Spencer, PDSA director of fundraising, said: “Mojo’s actions on that fateful night enabled the emergency services to carry out their vital work by helping to search and clear the area of potential secondary devices.
“Mojo worked tirelessly under conditions he’d never experienced before.
“For that devotion to duty and service to society, PDSA is honoured to recognise him.”