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Sue Dicks and Lee Webb

Their groundbreaking work with rescue dogs has seen 12 of them become police sniffer dogs, including previous Animal Heroes award winner Stella.

sue dicksSue, who works at RSPCA West Hatch, assesses rescue dogs before putting them forward to be trained by Lee and the team of handlers at Avon and Somerset Police.

So far 12 Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs have completed the training, which starts with Sue teaching them to find a tennis ball to see which animals will be suitable.

She then works closely with Lee to get them through their training and into their new working lives.

Their most recent success story, Boris, highlights the importance of their work. He was brought into the Centre after being given up by his previous owner. He had been living in difficult conditions with a large number of dogs and was suffering from a painful skin condition.

After Sue spotted his potential, he has now graduated from search dog training school and is set for a productive new life with the Police.

Sue said: “All the dogs in our care are special in their own way, but I knew the minute I saw Boris that he was going to stand out. I’m delighted that he is going on to be an important member of the local police force. He will also be joining our wall of fame of rescue dogs at West Hatch that have all gone on to be working service dogs. We really could not be prouder.”