A dog rescued by police officers to be trained as a sniffer dog had to be returned and put to sleep after it was discovered to be a pit bull-cross, banned under the Breed Standard Law.
Tyson had been rehomed by the Avon and Somerset Police after he appeared on Channel 5′s Dog Rescuers.
After breed experts discovered he belonged to a banned breed, the 18-month-old dog was returned to the RSPCA’s West Hatch rescue centre. Due to his breed, the shelter was unable to legally rehome him and had him put to sleep.
Inspector Dave Eddy, who is in charge of the Tri-Force Dog Section which covers Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Constabularies, said: “We are absolutely devastated that Tyson had to be returned to West Hatch and that due to being a banned breed, he had to be put to sleep in accordance with Dangerous Dog Act and it wasn’t feasible for him to become an operational police dog.
“It can be very hard to identify the dangerous breeds if they are mixed with other breeds that look similar such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers. In Tyson’s case, it was our expert Dog Legislation Officers who identified the physical traits.
“A number of our drug and explosive search dogs are rescue dogs and include Labradors, Springer Spaniels and Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies). PC Lee Webb who looked after Tyson was particularly upset. PC Webb already handles a rescue Staffie, PD Kos, who is an excellent search dog.
“We are committed to working with partners, including the RSPCA, to use rescue dogs wherever possible but within the confines of the law. We are in regular contact with centres such as West Hatch, to view and assess any dogs that show potential for becoming operational police dogs and have had great success with the animals we have taken on previously. We will always try to give rescue dogs any opportunities we can.”
An RSPCA spokesperson commented: “All of the staff who cared for and loved him are incredibly upset that such a wonderful dog had to be put to sleep.”
“Ultimately, poor Tyson illustrates the absurdity of the breed specific legislation and the Dangerous Dogs Act, and is another lovely dog who has paid the price because of it.”
Breeds banned under the Dangerous Dog Act are Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.