Dumped in a bucket a near-to-death cocker spaniel retrains as a police sniffer dog

Picture: RSPCA

A near-to-death cocker spaniel puppy dumped in a bucket has been trained to be a top-class police sniffer dog.

Badger – just six weeks old – was found starving and sick in the blue plastic bucket.

He was taken in by the RSPCA and brought back to health.

However, once re-homed, the badly treated cocker failed to adapt to family life.

The animal charity spotted Badger had a real nose for fighting crime and handed over to the Sussex Police dog unit.

Picture: Sussex Police. Badger and PC Steph Barrett

His handler PC Steph Barrett said:

“After a lot of love and training, he has regained trust in humans.

“He’s still got that cheeky side, but he’s obsessed with work.

“He makes me smile all day.”

Badger and three other pups were abandoned in Redhill, Surrey, in July 2019.

They had severe mange, chronic eye and ear infections, and were malnourished.

The puppies were re-homed but Bader couldn’t adapt.

The RSPCA thought he might be perfect for the police.

Jo Douglas, who cared for Badger at the RSPCA, said:

“It’s been incredible to see the transformation from frightened, poorly puppy to a brave and clever crime-fighting hero.

“He was always on the go and needed constant stimulation – he was just too much for his adopters, so he came back to us.

“We kept him busy by hiding tennis balls around the centre and playing scent games with him.

“He absolutely loved it – and was really good at following his nose and finding them so we contacted the police to see if they’d be interested in taking him on as a new recruit.”

Badger, now 20 months old, qualified as a sniffer dog six months ago.



About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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