A RESCUE puppy who had a traumatic start in life has been welcomed by Durham Police.

The 18-month-old Belgian Malinois pup was rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and after a lengthy court case and 10 months in kennels was rehomed.

Now teamed with his new handler, PC Chris Jackson, the duo are being put through their paces in a 13-week training course.

Dog section Sergeant, Dave Bell, said PC Jackson had originally been paired with a German Shepherd but sadly the dog became ill and was unable to continue the course.

Meanwhile, the RSPCA contacted the team and asked if they could rehome Buddy.

Sgt Bell said: “It was just by chance that the RSPCA contacted us and asked if we could take Buddy and when we paired him with PC Jackson, we found he was showing signs of a great police and dog, which is unusual.

“Although Buddy had been in kennels for such a long time, he was full of drive and energy and he is picking everything up really well.”

PC Jackson, who served as a response officer in Peterlee for 13 years, is also new to the role and the duo are now in week five of the course.

They will have to carry out specialist training but if all goes well, could be licenced by the beginning of May.

PC Jackson has now taken Buddy home where he is getting lots of love and attention and is starting to become part of the family.

“Buddy was really shy at first but just to see his confidence grow has been great,” PC Jackson said.

“I loved working on response but have always wanted to be a dog handler so to now be in training, especially with a dog like Buddy, is brilliant.”

RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre kennel supervisor Sally Brown added: "Buddy came into RSPCA care in March last year after he was found confined in a bedroom of a house in South Yorkshire, in squalid conditions.

"After an RSPCA prosecution, his owner was disqualified from keeping animals for 12 months and deprived of Buddy in November, and the search for the right kind of home for Buddy began.

"We knew Buddy needed a special kind of home, where he could work, to be happy.

"We've suggested dogs that might be suitable to become police dogs before, and hoped it could offer a great new life for Buddy.

"We're so happy that he's progressing so well. We're all keeping our fingers crossed for him."