Some were not quite ready for their mugshot – but say hello to the latest recruits at South Yorkshire Police.
The 12 German Shepherd pups, now eight weeks old, have packed their collars, blankets and toys and are off to their puppy walkers for the next 12 to 18 months.
The girls – Nala, Nova, Neve, Neshie, Nell and Ness, and the boys, Neo, Nemesis, Nelson, Neptune, Nemo and Neeko – will undergo training and assessments to become bona fide police dogs.
The puppies are part of the force’s puppy breeding programme, which is based at the Dog Training School at Niagara, in Hillsborough. The programme was established in 2008 and since then more than 73 dogs have made the grade as police dogs.
Two of the 12 pups have already left the county, aspiring to become a West Midlands Police dog and a Full Sutton Prison dog.
Harry Morton, manager of the dog school, said: “Two of the boys, Nemesis and Neptune, are with their puppy walkers in the Midlands and North Yorkshire and I wish them and their potential handlers all the very best of luck in their future.
“Neptune was the pup we nicknamed ‘Elvis’ for his one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock whines we heard every hour on the hour. He is the one bound for Full Sutton Prison, so any would-be criminals may want to think twice. If they get locked up with Neptune lurking around, they certainly won’t be getting any sleep.”
A number of new recruits have been born very close together over the last couple of months. Seven Labrador pups, born in April, have also packed up and moved in with their puppy walkers.
The O and P litters, both German Shepherds, are still being cared for by staff and volunteers at Niagara. The O litter consisted of three girls and two boys, and are now five weeks old, and the P litter, four boys and three girls, are four weeks old.
Harry said: “Linda, who is one of our volunteer puppy walkers, was certainly kept very busy with all of the N litter at her home. The litter is the largest we have ever successfully reared and she has done a great job.
“The last two litters are all healthy and doing well, even though they are ‘puppy no names’ at the moment. We identify them with coloured paper collars, which they have started to enjoy pulling off one another.”