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Staffy rehomed as prison search dog
Cookie is in training with HMP Six Counties Search Team.

Cookie becomes first of her breed to take on such an important job 

A Staffordshire bull terrier has been given a new lease of life helping to detect drugs that are prevalent in the prison system.

One-year-old Cookie spent more than 50 days at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home before HMP Six Counties Search Team decided to take her on. With her high energy levels and inquisitive nature, she is now in training and is the first of her breed to take on such an important job.

While at Battersea, it was Cookie’s exceptional agility skills and love for games that gave rise to the idea she could make an exceptional working dog. Armed with a tennis ball - Cookie’s favourite toy - Battersea’s working dogs manager Jeff Moore set to work on basic training.

Some of this training was shown on Wednesday’s episode of Paul O’ Grady’s: For the Love of Dogs, where Cookie could be seen sniffing out bits of tennis ball hidden in rooms and vehicles.

“From her first session, Cookie showed great potential, bearing in mind she’d never done this type of sniffer training beforehand, so we were really hopeful that she’d be able to find a working home that would be well suited to her needs,” explained Jeff. “She’s very sociable, clever and a very high energy dog and I knew in the right setting she could channel all that into doing something great.”

Battersea was delighted when HMP Six Counties Search Team decided to adopt Cookie and for the past 12 weeks, she has been learning the ropes with head trainer, Mel Barker.

“Cookie is currently still in training as it takes months to train up a dog ready for work, but she is doing really well,” said Mel. “She has been training in areas that will assist in reaching her potential and will be fully assessed. Hopefully, she will continue to develop and become an operational search dog.”

Jeff added that Cookie is a prime example of how Staffordshire bull terriers should never be judged on their looks alone.

“Cookie is smart and loves the mental and physical stimulation of playing search games and the interaction of working with the trainers,” he said. “We hope that Cookie will pave the way for many other Staffies to become successful search dogs.”

Image (C) Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.