Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Dogs saved from Kabul by Pen Farthing land in UK – but now face being put down

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Animals being evacuated to the UK from Afghanistan by an ex-Royal Marine could be put down says a source.

Paul "Pen" Farthing has landed back in the UK with 94 dogs and 79 cats after a high profile campaign to get him and the animals out.

The animals, all sheltered by the ex-commando's Nowzad Dogs charity now face a lengthy four-month quarantine period after touching down at Heathrow

Nowzad revealed on Facebook: "We are relieved to confirm that Pen and the Nowzad animals [have] left Afghanistan and are now safe."

However a source in Whitehall has reportedly told the Sunday Times the dogs and cats could be put down if they are diseased, according to The Mirror.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has already attacked Farthing’s supporters for "taking up too much time" of senior commanders.

An offensive, expletive ridden message allegedly from Farthing to Peter Quentin, a special advisor for Wallace, has also been published by the Sunday Times.

It reportedly includes Farthing saying he would "spend the rest of my time f***ing destroying you on social media and every other f***ing platform I can find".

According to reports, officials have drawn up plans to accommodate the 173 rescue animals – with one source stressing the importance of having a "contingency plan in place to protect our biosecurity".

  • Two Brits and child of Brit national among dead in horror Kabul airport attack

They added: "Rabies is one of the diseases that are prevalent there we would be worried about. Some of them will have health certificates. Where they don't, we will ensure the appropriate quarantine period."

One Whitehall source reportedly said: "If they turn out to be riddled with disease, Defra will have to put them down. It will be Geronimo the alpaca on speed."

Geronimo is sentenced to be put down by Defra having twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis but the animals owner, Helen Macdonald, believes the tests are returning false positives.

  • Ex-Marine living next to Taliban wins fight to save 200 dogs and cats from Kabul

The destruction warrant is valid until September 4 and Ms Macdonald wants the Defra to allow Geronimo to be tested for a third time or let him live to aid research into the disease.

Farthing and his animals received clearance for their Afghanistan exodus on Friday night and his chartered jet has stopped at Muscat before its arrival in London today.

However, Farthing's attempts to get his staff members out of the country haven't been as successful. He was reportedly trying to help 69 people evacuate Afghanistan, but said the convoy was turned back by the Taliban when it was just 300 metres inside the airport perimeter in Kabul.

Speaking to The Sun, Farthing said: "It is just so depressing I had to leave them behind. Some of them came with me to the airport but they weren’t allowed to cross the line from Taliban to British control.

"There were lots of tears when we said goodbye. I feel so many things. I feel very sad for them."

The ex-marine packed 125kg of dry pet food and 270 litres of water for the private rescue flight and said he "feels happy for the animals" and "relieved" for himself.

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  • Dogs
  • Drone
  • Animals
  • London

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