'She set the trend': UK’s first police pitbull, Stella, retires after eight years of service

'She had a tough start in life, but she’s been worth her weight in gold,' police partner and owner PC Claire Todd said

'She set the trend': UK’s first police pitbull, Stella, retires after eight years of service
Stella is an expert in identifying guns and ammunition (Facebook/ Retired Police Dog Stella the Staffie)
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GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK: The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier that served a police department in the United Kingdom is now retiring. As per reports, Stella served Gloucestershire Constabulary for eight years while working front line to curb crime.

The extraordinary exploits of the pitbull reportedly included sniffing out thousands of pounds of stolen money and different types of drugs, like cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. She was reportedly an expert in identifying guns and ammunition too.

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However, the time has now come for the ten-year-old animal to rest. Police partner and owner PC Claire Todd said: “It became pretty clear that Stella was something special as soon as I met her. She has an immense sense of smell. But also to be a police dog you need drive and determination to keep going and want to search.”

“She’s found at least three shotguns including one in a field that had been used in a crime as well as thousands of pounds in cash. The Bank of England uses a special sort of ink on notes and her nose has been trained to sniff it out. I am so proud that she was the first full Staffie to become a police dog in the UK. There have been four more since, but she set the trend. She had a tough start in life, but she’s been worth her weight in gold,” Todd explained. 

She also stated: “She’s such a loving, loyal and intelligent dog. She loves giving kisses and having cuddles. She’s an old lady now, is going a little grey, and deserves her retirement. I love her so much, to me she is family, and my baby.”

Todd reportedly has five dogs at home and Stella is one of them, whom she describes as "excellent,” as reported by The Mirror. She added: “Staffordshire Bull Terriers have developed a very unfair reputation - yet Stella is a brilliant family pet dog and wonderful with children. You could not ask for a more affectionate dog. She’s such a special dog, she’s not going anywhere. Her future is going to include lots of long walks, day trips and cuddles.”

Meanwhile, Dogs Trust expert Dr Rachel Casey has recently answered a few queries regarding how to handle canines after they have been moved to a new home because of their owners’ death. Casey said, “Although there is limited scientific evidence on how dogs respond to the loss of an owner, we do know that their behavior changes when separated from owners. Like us, dogs get used to routines and when they lose an owner, everything changes, and this can be worrying for them. Dogs form very strong bonds with their people, so the loss of an owner may impact on their mood, and they may behave differently, possibly being less active or being withdrawn.”

She advised, “The best thing you can do is give him some time. Don’t overwhelm him with lots of new experiences. Let him get to know the family and immediate environment first before taking him to meet other people. Try and keep to a regular routine to start with as well. Give him some space as well,” before noting, “If he chooses to settle down away from you, that's fine. For some dogs it takes a bit of time to form a new bond.”

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