Two Belgian Malinois Military Dogs Killed a Man in Austrian Armed Forces
A tragic accident happened in the night on Thursday in the airfield barracks of the Jagdkommando in Wiener Neustadt when two Belgian Malinois military dogs killed a man. A 31-year-old non-commissioned officer and dog handler of the army was attacked by army service dogs. The seriously injured soldier was discovered motionless at two o’clock in the morning at the barracks area.
Although the ambulance was quickly on the spot, any help came too late for the dog handler. He suffered massive bites. The spokesman for the Austrian army, Colonel Michael Bauer, confirms the disaster: “It is a very painful incident, we are mourning for a comrade.”
Many of the Jagdkommando soldiers were on an exercise outside the barracks on Wednesday. “The task of the chief sergeant was therefore to take care of the service dogs, to feed them and to let them run outdoors, he had kept his own service dog in a car,” explains Bauer.
A duty officer noticed 2 Belgian Malinois running around at night and asked a dog handler to lock them up when the dog handler discovered the body of the badly bitten soldier.
The Austrian soldier that has been killed by two Belgian Shepherd service dogs was tasked to feed the dogs at the barracks. The 31-year-old soldier had worked as a dog handler since 2017 and was in charge of caring and feeding the dogs at the barracks at Wiener Neustadt near the capital Vienna.
The tragedy happened when the majority of the commandos were carrying out exercises in Styria. A duty officer noticed two shepherds, running around the base and woke their handler, who went to lock the animals up. It was he who discovered the severely bitten victim. The police were called to the scene.
“The cause is still inexplicable – every military service dog handler is also able to look after another dog, and we’ll clarify exactly what happened with the police and our own commission of inquiry,” says Bauer. The crime scene specialists of the Land Criminal Police Office are also on site to provide evidence.
The 31-year-old sergeant was considered very experienced in dealing with the animals. He had been a dog handler at the Jagdkommando for two years, explains Bauer. The Belgian Malinois are used by the police, special forces and customs because of their speed, power and antinormative aggressiveness.
Belgian Malinois – Dogs for special missions
Since the terrorist attacks in America, the Austrian Federal Army trained dogs for special missions. Fully trained, the four-legged friends are versatile. They look for hidden weapons or explosives and help in the search for people. In an emergency, they are also able to free hostages from criminals.
For such difficult tasks, the Jagdkommando recruits only very strong shepherd dogs, which can be integrated into a team without any problems. Before the animals are ready for their delicate assignments, they go through with their leaders a half-year elementary school and many months of training and further education, it is said by the army.
The army currently has 70 military dogs in use. 41 Rottweilers, 15 Belgian Malinois and five German Shepherds and nine Labradors. The training takes place in the military dog center in Kaisersteinbruch.
Military Dog Belgian Malinois
An animal such as the Malinois, which the Federal Army considers attack dogs, can not be found on the street. These are specially bred and specially trained dogs, “said Gerald Pötz of the Austrian Dog Owners Association (ÖHV) on APA request. The possession of such trained animals is prohibited to private individuals.
Such dogs for the police and military service would also come from their own kennels. The breeding successes “selected on certain characteristics” as load capacity, nerve and instinct strength, explained Pötz. The latter means about a pronounced play instinct, because the training successes playful, well motivated dogs are preferred.
Aggressiveness, on the other hand, is “not a feature that is bred on,” emphasized the ÖHV spokesman. “A certain amount of aggression is a vital property for every animal, but aggression is not a characteristic that is innate. Aggression readiness can be learned by a dog in training. However, there is no such thing as “the aggressive dog” that was born like that. “The dog handlers of the Federal Army, in turn, knew exactly how to deal with the animals. All the more unexplainable was the accident that cost the lives of a Jagdkommando soldier in Wiener Neustadt.
“This is just speculation. I can imagine something unforeseen has happened. For example the soldier may have stumbled and left unconscious or he accidentally kicked one of the animals on the paw and the dog reacted,” guessed Pötz. That the other, still very young dog could have been instrumental in the attack, he considers unlikely.
What is usually not examined at bite incidents, but in the “problem dog therapy” is an important first step, is the clarification of whether the dog in question has a health problem. “The animal can have a brain tumor and then attack for no reason. It can also be irritated by a problem such as a purulent tooth, and that then suddenly discharges, “said Pötz.
Austrian Defence Minister Thomas Starlinger was deeply saddened by the tragedy as well as the country’s president and expressed condolences.
“I offer my deepest sympathy to the family and relatives of the killed chief sergeant as well his comrades in the Austrian Armed Forces”, stated Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.
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This is how a real-life Military Dogs are trained for combat