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Rescue dog who ‘flew the flag for Staffies’ retires after police career

Stella helped to break the stereotype the breed can attract when she became the UK’s first of her breed to join the police

An unwanted dog who was rescued by the RSPCA before becoming one of the UK’s first ever Staffordshire bull terrier police sniffer dogs has retired.

‘Stella the Staffie’ was taken in by RSPCA n Somerset, in 2013 when she was found roaming the streets by an  inspector. Her skills were spotted by kennel supervisor Sue Dicks who

contacted the police and, on 17 January 2014, PC Claire Todd came to collect her to join Gloucestershire Constabulary’s training programme. She later qualified as a cash, drugs and firearms detection sniffer dog - believed to be only the second Staffordshire bull terrier in such a role.

Stella is trained to search for drugs including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy; money including Sterling and Euros; and guns and ammunition.

The day after qualifying, during her first live search, she found £200 case hidden inside a drawer. Since then, PD Stella has spent eight years working witj PC Todd and German Shepherd PD Quest

Stella has helped to change the stereotype that Staffies have through her police work and presence on social media - where she has more than 28,000 followers on Twitter - and by appearing at events such as Crufts.

The 10-year-old retired on Saturday (17 September).

PC Todd - who will adopt her as a pet when she retires said: “Stella is still loving life and really enjoyed working, although she did start to slow down over her final six months. I think she’s ready to retire now and it’s time for her to chill out on the sofa and be totally spoiled after giving so much of her life to the police and the public.

“I’m so proud of her, she’s had an incredible career. Time has flown by since she became my police dog in 2014. I’ll be sad not to have her by my side when I’m out working, but I’m so pleased that I’ll get to come home to her every day. She’s such a special dog and she’s achieved so much in her life, particularly given her poor start.”

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