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RSPCA Staffie Turned Police Dog is a Real Animal Hero

03 November 2015

UK - Stella the Staffie, who was previously in RSPCA care, has turned into a super sniffer dog. Now she often finds guns, cash and drugs for Gloucester police - in July this year she even sniffed out a secret stash of £25,000.

At the third annual Animal Hero Awards held in London on October 21 Stella the Staffordshire bull terrier had her hard work recognised when she received an award for The Public Service Animal of the Year at the star studded ceremony in London.

Stella’s handler PC Claire Todd said: “I'm just so proud of her.

“I was a bit sceptical when I first met her because she isn’t a usual breed for a police dog so I tested her vigorously both inside and outside. When I saw her working she just blew me away.

"She isn’t fazed or scared of anything and she never gives up - that is what makes her a great police dog.

"We go round schools together talking about her work and she's great with the children when they want to stroke her and pet her.

"She’s only been working for less than year and I know she has a massive career ahead of her.

"It just goes to show that in the right hands Staffordshire bull terriers are amazing dogs with so much potential."

It's great that the police took a chance on her

Stella was taken to our West Hatch Animal Centre, in Taunton, Somerset in 2013.

Danny Boy Hatchard, who presented Stella with her award and attended with his dog Django, said: "Stella is a lovely little dog, considering what she's been through in her life, she still has so much unconditional love and loyalty to give. Tonight has shown we should all take a leaf out of a dog's book."

Kennel Supervisor Sue Dicks quickly realised that Stella had a talent and she worked with Stella by hiding tennis balls for her to find to develop this.

When Stella was settled and ready, Sue asked a PC from Avon and Somerset Police to asses her and they agreed to take her on. Sue said: "When she first came in I took her out to play fetch and realised she had a real talent for finding the ball.

"I hid the ball in lots of different places so Stella would have to climb on tables and through windows to get it and she was fantastic.

"It's great that the police took a chance on her - she isn’t your typical police dog but she gets the job done."

Stella has a massive career ahead of her

Stella was then placed with PC Claire Todd from Gloucester Police - Stella graduated last April after completing the six week course in just four weeks.

In her first live search the day after graduation she found £200 cash hidden inside a drawer. She now works with Claire - and Claire’s other sniffer dog German Shepherd, Duke - each day.

She's trained to search for drugs including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy; money including Sterling and Euros; and guns and ammunition.


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