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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
RSPCA lifts police dog ban
A row of German shepherds being walked by trainers
Police dogs are to be trained with praise and reward, not punishment
The RSPCA has lifted its ban on re-homing any dog with Essex Police.

Three police dog handlers at a Sandon training centre were convicted of cruelty in 1998 after a German shepherd, Acer, died from being kicked while hanging from a lead.

Now the animal charity says it is satisfied police in Essex have improved the way in which they will care for the dogs.

The RSPCA and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have agreed upon a strategy in which the force's vet will report on the dogs and a panel of visitors will be allowed free access to the dogs at any time.

Officers convicted

RSPCA veterinary director Chris Laurence said: "Following the appalling death of police dog Acer, the RSPCA is now delighted that Essex Police force is, by adopting this new Police Dog Strategy, ensuring its dogs' welfare is never compromised.

Sergeant Andrew White and Constables Kenneth Boorman and Stephen Hopkins were convicted of cruelty after Acer's death in 1997.

Boorman, 45, was jailed for three months, White, 37, was given a one-month suspended sentence and Hopkins, 42, was ordered to carry out community service.

Boorman and White were also dismissed from Essex Police.


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