That’s some pup: how Benny the res­cue dog caught eye of the law

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY VIC­TO­RIA LEONARD

10-week-old po­lice pup Benny, a res­cue dog who was re­cently plucked from a lo­cal an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary and could soon be pro­tect­ing the North­ern Ire­land public.

The adorable Mali­nois cross was spot­ted at As­sisi An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary last week by a PSNI dog han­dler who in­stantly saw his po­ten­tial, and on Mon­day was taken to the Po­lice Col­lege Dog Train­ing Unit at Antrim’s Steeple com­plex to meet the team.

While he is cur­rently tak­ing it easy as the baby of the bar­racks, Benny will un­dergo his first for­mal test as part of the PSNI Puppy Pro­gramme at 12 weeks, to de­ter­mine if he will one day be­come a fully-fledged po­lice dog.

He will then un­der­take a new test ev­ery month. If he suc­cess­fully passes these, he will progress to the Young Dog Scheme when he is eight months old.

“It’s the first time in a num­ber of years that we have had a pup as young as Benny,” In­spec­tor of Com­bined Op­er­a­tions, Jill Duffie told the Belfast Tele­graph.

“Nor­mally we would take Ger­man Shep­herds or Bel­gian Mali­nois. We don’t know what Benny’s back­ground is, but he is show­ing early signs of hav­ing what it takes.

“We tried to see if he would re­trieve and if he wanted to do a tug of war on a rope, and he re­ally shone. We have seen quite a few pups here, and that wee dog was as good, if not bet­ter, than the others.”

Bel­gian Mali­nois are known for their in­tel­li­gence and ath­letMEET icism, mak­ing them a pop­u­lar choice as po­lice and pro­tec­tion dogs.

Benny’s cur­rent fo­cus is on be­com­ing well so­cialised around hu­mans and fa­mil­iaris­ing him­self with the sta­tion en­vi­ron­ment.

He is now liv­ing with a staff mem­ber, and will move in with his new han­dler if he be­comes a po­lice dog.

“As a gen­eral pur­pose po­lice dog he will have to learn to track a per­son, he would have to search for peo­ple and for ob­jects with scent as well as pro­tec­tion work and public or­der work,” In­spec­tor Duffie con­tin­ued.

“If he doesn’t make the grade and be­come PD Benny, he will still have a bright fu­ture as a well-trained fam­ily pet.

“We will get him a good home — we al­ready have a num­ber of dog han­dlers and staff mem­bers who have of­fered to take him.

“We don’t have favourites, but he is the baby.”

The PSNI said it will pub­lish reg­u­lar ‘pup­dates’ on its Face­book pages for any­one who wishes to keep up-to-date with Benny’s progress.

Puppy love: res­cue dog Benny

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