The police in the U.K. are under fire for locking up a dog in a tiny cage for two years and refusing to give it exercise.
Stella, who is a pit-bull type dog, was seized by Devon and Cornwall Police in 2014 after her owner was arrested in an unrelated matter.
Deemed to be potentially dangerous by the police because of her breed and her behavior in assessments, Stella was taken to a private kennel and locked up in a three foot by nine foot cage under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
And there she was to remain for the next two years, without affection, attention, or exercise. In fact, the Dangerous Dog Act dictated that no member of staff was even allowed to touch Stella, let alone exercise her.
Laura Khanlarian, who worked at the private kennel as an assistant, told the BBC that she was deeply troubled by the fact that Stella left her kennel only twice during her stay – purely so her behavior could be assessed.
“We were always told not to exercise or go into a kennel with any dogs, regardless of character, that had been brought in under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“We were under no circumstances allowed to touch any of those dogs at all under any circumstances – which was hard.
“Animal welfare comes before anything, and that was my job. I don’t believe I would be doing it properly if I would sit back and think that’s ok. It wasn’t ok – it’s not ok.”
The police refused to go into specifics as to why Stella should be kept in such a confined area and refused exercise for the length of time she was, but Sgt Allan Knight, from the Devon and Cornwall Police dog handling unit, told the BBC, “We are bound by the court process.”
“There will always be some dogs, for whatever reason, that cannot go back, and cannot get walked by staff because of the danger they possess.”
In the U.K. 7,000 dogs were seized by police during the past five years and £5m has been spent on keeping them in kennels.
Kendal Shepherd, a vet of 30 years and animal behavior expert, has slammed Stella the Pit Bull’s predicament as “unjustified,” and “cruel.”
“It’s terrible. It’s unjustified. It’s wasting huge amounts of money and it’s not doing a single thing to prevent dog bites.
“It’s cruel. But it’s what our system forces us to do.”
The RSPCA has created a good practice guide for all police forces when dealing with dangerous dogs and it reads, “Dogs must be provided with the opportunity to exercise away from their kennel at least once a day and this should be for a total of at least 30 minutes.”
A destruction order for Stella was passed by Torquay Magistrates’ Court on February 8. Her owner Antony Hastie, who has already attended court 11 times to discuss Stella’s future, was given 28 days to appeal.
Mr Hastie said there were no incidents of aggressive behavior prior to Stella being seized.
[Photo by China Photos/Getty Images]