Police dog Cooper retires to live with his handler

A much-loved police dog who had lived on the streets as a stray is putting up his paws for some well-earned rest after four years of fighting crime across Staffordshire.

PD Cooper with his former handler and now owner, PC Tim Moss
PD Cooper with his former handler and now owner, PC Tim Moss

PD Cooper, a six-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is specially-trained to find drugs, cash and firearms, and was the first of his breed to join Staffordshire Police.

Cooper was selected for Staffordshire Police by Lee Webb, a dog trainer for Avon and Somerset Police, who has close links with the Taunton based animal centre and extensive knowledge in training Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Before this, Cooper had lived on the streets and was rescued by the RSPCA, spending seven months at the West Hatch Animal Centre.

But Cooper won't have to worry about where he lives in his retirement, as the beloved police dog will be going home with his handler, PC Tim Moss.

The experienced dog handler was chosen to pair up with Cooper and following a six-week training course they graduated with flying colours.

Since then, Cooper has supported Tim on hundreds of incidents, recovering approximately £400,000 worth of drugs and cash.

Throughout his career, Cooper has also become something of an A-list celebrity alongside his day job, amassing over 14,000 Twitter followers thanks to the dedication and commitment of his hander.

Together with Tim, he’s being invited to a range of events to meet the public, from family fun days to Crufts and the National Pet Show.

They’ve also made children’s dreams come true through countless visits to local schools, where the duo deliver demonstrations showing the ability of police dogs and help to educate youngsters on the work of the police.

Cooper has spent plenty of time in front of the camera too, appearing on TV shows including Good Morning Britain, Animal Rescue Live and Crimewatch.

During the pandemic and in his own time, Tim went the extra mile to help keep local school-children interested in reading, by creating and sharing videos of him telling stories with Cooper by his side.

They are also award winners, with Tim being awarded Specialist Dog Handler of the Year in 2019, and they’ve received multiple nominations since.

Cooper will now spend his retirement with Tim and his family after the pair developed such a strong bond working together.

PC Tim Moss said: “It’s a fantastic story – one day Cooper was roaming the streets and then he became a fully-fledged police dog.

“I have had Cooper since March 2018 and he joined the force the following month. It was a bit of a whirlwind at first but we had a such a positive reaction from the public.

“Throughout the last four years, we’ve built an amazing community of followers on social media and I want to say a huge thank you for all the support they’ve shown us both.

“I really hope that throughout this journey we’ve helped to show the public just how incredible Staffies can be.

Tim, who will be moving from the Dog Unit to a new role within the force, added: ‘I’m extremely privileged to have had so many brilliant experiences alongside Cooper – he’s such a special dog and we have an incredible bond.

“I’m looking forward to the next chapter together.”

Inspector Dave Kelsall, of the forces Firearms and Dog Support unit, said: “Although this is a really sad day for the unit to see PD Cooper retire, it is also a celebration and reminder of all the exceptional work he has done for Staffordshire Police and his breed, as a truly outstanding Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

"Our work is not always about catching criminals and sniffing out drugs, but it is also about how we engage and work with our communities.

"Cooper has shown the power of this with his following on social media and the huge amount of lasting impressions, education and joy he has given to the younger generation and public.

"It’s important to remember that Cooper is only the star he is today thanks to the hard work, care and love given to him by his handler Tim.

"We wish Cooper a happy retirement and look forward to regular updates and continued pictures of the legacy he has left in local communities and truly making Staffordshire police dogs “Staffordshire".

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