Puppy found in raid is now crime-busting police dog
A puppy recovered by officers during a raid is now a crime-busting police dog.
PD Arnie, a German Shepherd/Malinois cross, celebrated becoming a fully-fledged member of the force at the Norfolk Showground on Thursday 4 May 2023.
He graduated alongside PD Boris, a black German Shepherd, who was one of several dogs donated to the Norfolk and Suffolk Police Dog Unit by a breeder.
The two dogs, their handlers, and their “puppy walkers” – volunteers connected with the force who foster them during their training – gathered to applaud their achievements.
PD Arnie was recovered from grim conditions during an operation in East Suffolk and signed over to the force by his owner.
Despite his difficult early life PD Arnie has turned out to be an “exceptional” dog and a quick learner, passing his training with flying colours - and in half the time due to illness.
Dog instructor PC Jim Wells said he was “massively intelligent” and “exceptional” at tracking.
“He is now starting to listen to his handler and be a bit more disciplined. He is getting stronger and stronger, and when he is tracking he is on fire,” he said.
“Both the dogs are still developing. It’s like passing your driving test – it does not make you a good driver, it’s the experience that counts.”
PD Boris meanwhile is described as a small dog with a mighty attitude. PC Wells said he was “brave, courageous, and loyal – but with a spark about him.”
PD Arnie is based in Bury St Edmunds with his handler PC Nick Lofthouse and PD Boris will work out of Downham Market with PC Jamie Ward who has close links with the Moonshot team.
The dogs have both been with their puppy walkers for over a year, and living with their handlers for around three weeks. PC Wells said the celebration event was a chance for PD Arnie and PD Boris to show off their “general purpose” skills with dog agility, tracking, and recall displays.
It was also an opportunity for all those involved in their careers to meet up and for other dogs going through the programme to be socialised.
Not all those who start the training complete the course, and those who don’t make it are re-homed.
Presenting the licensing certificates was Chief Inspector Sarsfield Donohue of Suffolk Police.
Ch Insp Donohue first met PD Arnie at Lowestoft Police Station over a year ago.
“Arnie was recovered from a premises where he would have had a rather grim future,” he said.
“He was sat outside my office and he looked like he had real potential. He was assessed and the rest is history.
“I am just delighted to see how he has turned out and no doubt he will be a real asset to Norfolk and Suffolk.”
The joint unit has more than 40 dogs ready to deploy to a variety of situations like tracking suspects, finding missing people and recovering property as well as specialist roles to do with drugs and explosives.
PD Arnie and PD Boris are now poised for action across Norfolk and Suffolk and beyond.
Jodie Proctor PD Arnie’s puppy walker said it was a wrench having to give him back, adding: “But it is nice that he has done so well. He is a little bit of the star of the show so it is nice to have been a part of that.”Meanwhile PD Boris had been with his puppy walker Holly Metcalf for an unusually long 18 months, amid fears he might not make the grade. She said it was hard to let him go but that he was a good-natured, lovely dog.
PC Wells said PD Boris had really come on in the last six months and that his success was a reminder to never write a dog off too early.
He said he was delighted with the turnout to the celebration event staged in glorious sunshine as a thank you to everyone who contributed to the dog unit’s success.
Many people devoted many extra and volunteer hours to the animals and their crucial role in keeping the two counties safe, for which he was grateful, he said.