A POLICE rescue dog who has tracked down thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cash and has almost 30,000 Twitter followers has retired after her eight-year career.
Stella joined Gloucestershire Constabulary in 2014 and was the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier to work in the police in the UK.
The nine-year-old Staffie was trained to search for drugs, firearms and cash and regular updates of her work have been posted on social media.
Stella joined the force after she was rescued by the RSPCA West Hatch Animal Centre in Somerset in 2013.
Her skills and potential were spotted by a kennel supervisor who realised she had a special talent and got in touch with the police who’d taken rescue dogs on for work before.
PC Claire Todd from Gloucestershire Constabulary has been her handler since the start of Stella’s police training.
She said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Stella for the past eight and a half years.
“From the first day I met her back in 2014, I knew she was a very special rescue dog with massive potential.
“Stella has taught me so much about Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and what loyal, loving and intelligent dogs they are.
“She passed her drugs, cash and firearms recovery course in just four weeks, compared to the usual six.
“Stella has clearly loved every moment of her job.
“To her it’s been fun – she searches, gets her ball and loves every moment, but she doesn’t know how important her role in the Force has been.”
During her eight-year career Stella has found three firearms and has helped keep the streets of Gloucestershire safe.
As well as her role in helping to fight crime, Stella and PC Todd have taken part in school talks, engaged with the community and helped those who have had a fear of dogs.
She has also performed a demonstration at Crufts, been honoured with an Animal Hero Award in 2015, and PC Todd was interviewed live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with PD Stella by her side.
Police Dog Stella also has around 28,000 followers on Twitter.
PC Todd will now adopt Stella following her well-earned retirement.
She said: “Stella has broken down barriers within the communities, as everyone has wanted to chat about Stella.
“Even some of the prisoners have been so much more engaging with Stella present on searches – shocked and thrilled that a Staffie is a police dog.
“So many people who have been scared of dogs have overcome their fear when meeting Stella due to her gentle loving nature with everyone she meets.
“I’m so very proud of Stella and proud that the Constabulary gave her a chance to be the first Staffie police Dog in the UK.
“I cannot thank Gloucestershire Constabulary enough for using rescue dogs for all their specialist search dogs, as these amazing dogs are definitely all worth their weight in gold.”