United Kingdom — U.K. police have been operating a Death Row for dogs after two reports emerged in less than a week that they kept two animals caged for years without human contact or exercise. A report on Monday revealed that Stella, a pit-bull terrier, was kept in a tiny kennel for two years after being seized from her owner by Devon & Cornwall police in 2014.
A kennel worker revealed that staff were under strict instructions not to exercise dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act. She added that Stella had only left her cage twice in two years for assessments. The revelations have caused outrage among the public, and even prompted a rescue offer from a U.S. pit bull sanctuary.
Languishing in a 3 ft. by 9 ft. cage for almost two years, Devon & Cornwall police initially refused to give reasons why Stella was not exercised. According to kennel staff, she was deemed dangerous due to her breed and behaviour during assessments.
As if Stella’s case wasn’t bad enough, news emerged on Friday of a second dog kept caged by the same force for years. Whistleblowers told the BBC that a Rottweiler named Vinnie had a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on his cage before his destruction order was carried out in July 2015. Staff said he was deemed too dangerous to be allowed out and said the only human contact he enjoyed was when he was fed.
Responding to the evidence of animal abuse, Superintendent Jim Nye said:
“The welfare of dogs is extremely important to us. In the past year we have seized in the region of 100 dogs, and only Stella has been assessed as too dangerous and unpredictable for kennel staff to walk.”
Asked about Vinnie, police blamed “immensely frustrating” delays in the judicial process for him being caged for two years before being destroyed. The force did not reveal if they had ordered Vinnie — who is understood to not be among the 100 dogs seized — to be kept without human contact.
“Vinnie was a legal breed and was seized after it had bitten three people. Later the courts granted a destruction order on the dog who was put to sleep in the early to mid part of 2015.”
A petition to save Stella has gathered over 2,000 signatures, while the Anthony Hastie, the dog’s owner, has launched an appeal against her destruction order. He told the Guardian that the dog will “remain in kennels until the outcome of the appeal is known.”
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