Abandoned puppy now a drug-sniffing police K-9

Badger overcame early hardship to become a valued member of the Sussex Police force

By Suzie Ziegler 

SUSSEX, England — Police K-9 Badger had a rough start to life. Animal welfare officials found him and three other puppies abandoned in a bucket – all underweight and suffering from mange and infection. Now, Badger’s luck has taken a turn for the better. 

According to Sussex Police, all four puppies were rehomed to loving families. But Badger struggled to adjust.

“He was always on the go and needed constant stimulation and he was just too much for his adopters, so he came back to us,” Jo Douglas, a caretaker from a local animal center, told police. “We kept him busy by hiding tennis balls around the centers and playing scent games with him. He absolutely loved it – and was really good at following his nose and finding them so we contacted the police to see if they’d be interested in taking him on as a new recruit!” 

As it happened, the police were interested. The cocker spaniel became a drug-sniffing K-9 with the Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit. He’s now paired with PC Steph Barrett.

A before and after picture of K-9 Badger.
A before and after picture of K-9 Badger. (Sussex Police)

“I was saddened to hear how Badger had been dumped on the side of the road, but thanks to the RSPCA, he’s been given a second chance,” Barrett said. “I could tell he was a bit high-spirited, but through a lot of love and training, he has regained trust in humans and become a real success story. He’s still very mischievous at times, but that’s all part of the challenge!” 

According to the agency, Badger is qualified to search for drugs, cash and weapons. 

Barrett says Badger loves the challenge. 

“When he hears the radio go off, he squeals with excitement and I don’t even have to ask him to get in the van. He’s a joy to work with,” she said.

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