PD Bella (copyright RSPCA)
An enthusiastic spaniel rescued from poor conditions in Ashford has received a second chance as a Kent Police detection dog.
‘Sprocker’ spaniel Bella was just 20 weeks old when she was rescued by the RSPCA in May 2021.
RSPCA Kent Chief Inspector Nick Wheelhouse said: ‘We were called to an address by police and discovered three dogs living in the back of a van in completely inappropriate conditions. They were removed from the site, along with a number of other dogs, and came into RSPCA care.
‘When we were able to begin searching for new homes for them I was visiting our centre with the local dog legislation officer and introduced him to Bella. She rushed straight up to him and started playing with the ball he was throwing.
‘He turned to me and said she’d make a great police search dog. She was busy, bouncy and full of energy so we knew we might struggle to find her a home that would be active enough to keep up with her, so a working role seemed the perfect fit.’
Bella went to live with a volunteer puppy walker, working with Kent Police’s Dog Section, in August 2021. She qualified as a forensic recovery dog in March 2022 alongside her handler PC Alan Smith.
Chief Inspector Craig West, of Kent Police’s Dog Section, said: ‘Police dogs play a vital role in modern policing and work side-by-side with officers and staff to keep people safe and help bring offenders to justice.
‘We enjoy a strong partnership with the RSPCA and were delighted to be able to give Bella a loving home and welcome her to the Kent Police family. She is settling in very well and I have no doubt she will continue to make a valuable contribution to the force’s work in the months and years to come.
‘Dogs like Bella who are trained to detect blood use their extraordinary sense of smell to track down evidence at scenes of crime, or to help locate people who may be injured and in need of our assistance. We just could not carry out this type of work without them, which is one of the reasons why our police dogs are held in such high regard.
‘The mistreatment of dogs and other animals is completely unacceptable and we commend the RSPCA for the work they do to safeguard neglected pets like Bella and ensure they go on to receive a much higher quality of life.’