Essex Police has put out an urgent appeal to help find a male, aged 12 to 15 months and he must have four legs, a tail and a pedigree.

A german shepherd has pulled out of the force's canine training programme, leaving one unlucky handler with a problem: he or she no longer has a dog.

Dan Elford from the unit, based in Sandon, Chelmsford, said most of the animals come from rescue kennels or members of the public and they are generally short of them as it is.

Now, he said, the "unprecedented" loss of one of the trainee police dogs has left them with a "slight problem."

So he has now appealed for people to come forward with potential replacements for the dog unit drop-out. The unit needs a male pedigree german shepherd, aged between 12 and 15 months old.

Anyone who thinks they may have a suitable dog and would like more information can call the unit on 01245 226585

Published Thursday, March 21, 2002