Stitch, the one-time stray, now sniffing out illegal drugs

23 June 2016

A stray dog left to wander the streets of Newark has cut out a new life sniffing out drugs for police and security companies.

Stitch, a young English pointer-springer cross, was picked up by Newark and Sherwood District Council’s dog warden service who noticed he had a ‘nose for work’.

Now he’s in the capable hands of new owner Kelvyn Pease, a kennels manager, who has helped transform him from unruly hound to focused professional – tracking illegal drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines.

Kelvyn said: “When he came to me it was obvious that he loved to play ball and had a fantastic ability to sniff things out. The nose receptors on a dog are far better than human beings anyway but Stitch had a real talent.

“I worked with him for two weeks on ball searching and then guided him through a specialist 16-day course. He is now used by police, security companies and night clubs to find drugs and ensure venues such as music festivals are a safe environment for the public.”

As well as his work role, which includes sniffing out flares at large public gatherings, Stitch is one of five pet dogs who are part of the wider Pease family. Kelvyn is well acquainted with dog behaviours and is qualified in grooming, security dog handling, canine first aid and is a specialist detection dog handler.

Council dog warden Val Brown said: “When we picked him up it was clear that he was very ball-orientated with an excellent nose but he was also very lively and uncontrollable. He had never had a collar or lead and had no manners whatsoever.

“We always look to find the best possible future for all the stray dogs we pick up and it is fantastic that with Stitch we have found him a good home where he is thriving – and helping with the important work that the police do in combating illegal drugs.

“Kelvyn has the knowledge to assess the dogs that we pass on to him, help correct behavioural problems and giving them a far better chance of being rehomed successfully.”

Dog instructor PC Leigh Whitehead, of East Midlands Operational Support, said: “Within a team, police dogs are often more valuable than any other officer. They are an integral part of the team and have a wide range of skills, from tracking down vulnerable people, to disarming violent suspects and deploying with the fire arms team. Our dogs work tirelessly every day, across the whole county, using their unique skills to help keep their colleagues and the public safe.”

Dog owners are reminded that, by law, their pets must be microchipped. Microchips contain key information including the keeper’s contact details which must be kept up-to-date.

Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulation 2015 it is compulsory for all dogs over the age of eight weeks to be fitted with microchips. The only exemption from this requirement is where a vet certifies in writing that a dog is unfit to be microchipped. Many vets offer free microchipping as do other welfare organisations.

Owners of dogs without microchips face being served with a notice requiring them to comply, and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not stay within the law.

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