Orla the flea-ridden stray qualifies as top notch Essex Police search dog

Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog

Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog - Credit: Archant

A stray dog is now sniffing out criminals on the front line of policing in Essex.

Pc Paul Arthey with Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog

Pc Paul Arthey with Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog - Credit: Archant

Orla, a springer spaniel-border collie cross was taken in by kennels and donated to Essex Police when staff thought she had potential to be a great search dog.

When the three-year-old first arrived at the force dog unit in Sandon she was extremely underweight, ridden with fleas, and her fur was so matted it had to be shaved off.

But she has now not only been nursed back to health but trained to find drugs, cash and weapons along with her handler Pc Paul Arthey who spent three months bonding with Orla before even beginning a further three-and-a-half months of training.

Orla became licensed in June and joined the front-line, hunting for heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs as well as money, guns and ammunition.

Pc Arthey said: “Orla was very insecure. For the first month she wouldn’t venture any further than two metres away from me off the lead.

Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog

Orla the Essex Police sniffer dog - Credit: Archant

“Orla is a natural police dog. She’s so happy and confident now that it’s almost impossible to remember her as the thin flea-ridden dog I first met.

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“It’s taken a lot of patience and affection but Orla is now confident and secure and has settled brilliantly into family life away from work.

“She lives happily with my German Shepherd police dog Kobi and is always ready and excited to go to work.

“I’m extremely proud of her.”

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