Home Police Notices Devon and Cornwall Statement from Devon and Cornwall Police on Stella the dog

Statement from Devon and Cornwall Police on Stella the dog

6 min read

The case of Stella, a dangerous dog and illegal breed who was used on two occasions as a threat by the owner to attack police personnel prior to being seized, is already well known.

By law, once an animal is seized by the police we are bound by the court process which makes the final decision on what will happen to the dog.

The court has previously ruled that Stella is an illegal breed of dog, that the owner Mr Hastie was not a fit and proper person to own the dog, and that Stella should be destroyed.

Today (22nd June) Exeter Crown Court has agreed to allow the keepership of Stella the dog to be transferred to a new person, who they deem fit to look after the animal.

Stella’s former owner, Anthony Hastie, will have no further contact with the animal as he has legally disclaimed all rights of access.

We respect the court’s authority in this matter and accept the court’s decision that the new keeper is fit and proper.

The court as also overturned the destruction order on Stella the dog, which is a decision that we have supported due to the suitability of the new keeper to look after and rehabilitate Stella.

We have already worked closely with Stella’s new keeper since she took the dog into her kennels around six weeks ago and Stella has received behaviour modification training paid for by a third party.

We will continue to work with her to assist her in the obtaining the certification of exemption from DEFRA that is now required.  This will make Stella legal to possess, as long as the new keeper abides by a number of conditions.

We have ensured that the new keeper’s set-up was suitable to house Stella and that they are fully aware of the challenges they will face and the conditions they will need to adhere to as Stella’s new keeper.

The new keeper will now work closely with Stella and will focus on behaviour modification as part of her rehabilitation.

The dog will still be living in a secure environment in her new home.

Devon and Cornwall Police has on a number of occasions shared its concerns at the lengthy delay to cases, caused by legislation, the court system and on occasions the unfit owners surrounding the issue of dangerous dogs.

The Force has already put forward a report to the DEFRA Select Committee inquiry into the welfare of seized domestic animals. We have also made full written submissions in respect of this issue, and also the wider issue of seized domestic animals.

We await the outcome from the DEFRA Select Committee and we hope that it is able to make the appropriate recommendations to see the needed changes in the law, and that similar cases in the future are not subjected to these delays.

We ask anyone with evidence related to alleged animal cruelty to immediately contact the police or the RSPCA.

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