she’s a beautiful dog and I’m very proud of her.”
Last spring, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s therapy dog, Stella, was invited into a St. John’s courtroom. The black and white Portuguese water dog sat at the feet of the complainant in a sexual assault case, providing comfort while the judge read his verdict. Despite this success, requests for the RNC’s trained police support dog between the end of July 2022 and mid-January 2023 were rejected or sent a generic emailed response. Internal emails and documents obtained by CBC News show that dozens of community outreach or victim services requests were denied over that six-month period. However, three public relations photo-ops were approved at the request of RNC leadership. Questions were raised about where the dog was and what was happening with the program. Stella was trained by a retired RNC staff sergeant, and along with her handler, Const. Krista Fagan, went just about everywhere in the community to prepare her for work. However, years later, that work has been curtailed, with Stella and her handler only being assigned to stay at RNC headquarters and other detachments and conduct visits for employee wellness. Requests from Eastern Health to attend a suicide awareness picnic and from Choices for Youth, social workers, and other local groups were denied. Despite this, Stella and her handler were asked to do a photo shoot with the Newfoundland Herald and attend Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie Day and do a photo op for the Growlers sports organization. A private donor funded the police dog program, and the donor doesn’t want any of the money back. Follow my Facebook group to stay up to date on the latest news surrounding Stella and the RNC’s police dog program.
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