Police in Devon, England, reportedly seized a dog and kept her in a cell for two years without any exercise -- because she was potentially dangerous.
Stella, a pitbull, was seized by police in 2014, BBC reports. She was considered dangerous because of her breed and her behavior when police visited her owner, Antony Hastie, for an unrelated matter. Since she was taken by the police, she has been kept in a three-foot by nine-foot cage in a kennel in Devon.
A worker at the kennel reports that they were not allowed to exercise dogs taken in under the Dangerous Dogs Act, a 1991 law which the National Animal Welfare Trust says was amended in 2014 to allow for police to seize dogs considered dangerous, even if from a private home. Before the change, the law only allowed the police to seize dangerous animals in public places.
Laura Khanlarian, an assistant at the kennel used by the Devon police, told BBC that Stella only left her cage twice during her two-year stay, both times for behavioral tests.
"We were always told not to exercise or go into a kennel with any dogs, regardless of character, that had been brought in under the Dangerous Dogs Act," said Khanlarian. "We were under no circumstances allowed to touch any of those dogs, which was hard."
Khanlarian also said that animal welfare is the top priority of her job, and that she didn't agree with the restrictions on Stella.
Hastie went to court 11 times in attempts to get Stella back, but the court ultimately decided in February that she would be put down.
"At all times we must balance the needs of the welfare of the animal and the safety of kennel staff. ... This dog has threatened and shown aggressive [behavior] toward two Police Community Support Officers," read a statement by the Devon police, according to BBC.
The Royal Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to the news of Stella and other dogs' lack of exercise in police kennels by creating a guide for police forces about how to best ensure the welfare of seized animals. The guide advises that the dogs must be walked at least once a day for no less than 30 minutes.