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Dr Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai

Their groundbreaking work with rescue dogs has seen 12 of them become police sniffer dogs, including previous Animal Heroes award winner Stella.

dr-moDr Mo, as his friends call him, trained as a vet at Kabul University but fled to Britain in 1996 after the Taliban came to power.

The regime did not recognise his profession and destroyed his university department. He saw his freedoms eroded and narrowly escaped with his life on several occasions, including when a rocket hit his flat.

Here in Britain, Dr Mo started volunteering for Mayhew Animal Home in London. He later became a member of staff and has devoted 15 years to improving animal welfare in the UK and abroad.

He has assisted in the rebuilding of the vet faculty at Kabul University. He has also helped Kabul Zoo not just recover from total destruction, but also become a well-maintained educational facility.

Dr Mo, 48, is now the country director for Mayhew Afghanistan. As part of the role he devised and implemented the first dog population survey in Kabul, with a view to developing a humane dog management programme.

He has negotiated an agreement to stop the culling of roaming dogs using poisonous strychnine, and travels to the country regularly to help equip and train student vets.

In August last year, Dr Mo started the first mass canine rabies vaccination programme in Kabul, with 12,000 dogs treated so far. The area only had a 1% vaccination rate before but is now on course to eradicate the disease.

The dad-of-three is a role model for young Afghans, inspiring them to care about animal welfare. He has also worked in India, refurbishing field clinics, educating vets about hygiene practices and working on mass vaccination programmes. Mayhew Chief Executive Caroline Yates said: “I, and everyone at The Mayhew, are incredibly proud of Dr Mohammadzai and what he has achieved. He is determined to improve animal welfare and veterinary standards in Afghanistan and implement a rabies prevention programme that will help the Afghan people and communities.”