Meet the Leeds police officer who has saved the lives of countless animals and is kept ‘on speed dial’ by the RSPCA
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An animal lover at heart, PC Gemma Brown has saved the lives of countless pets during her 17 years with West Yorkshire Police and her vital work was recognised at The Leeds District Police Awards Ceremony earlier this month.
Receiving the Solving Problems with Partners Award, the audience was told how the RSPCA has kept PC Brown “on speed dial” due to her track record of keeping animals out of harm's way. Examples were given of her attending a domestic incident where a puppy was thrown out of a window and rushing to the aid of a rabbit that was left without food or water for four weeks.
Speaking after the ceremony, PC Brown explained that before joining the force as a PCSO she had worked in boarding kennels and had grown up around animals.
She said: “I developed my love of animals and as a PCSO volunteered for an animal charity run by police officers.
"When I became a police officer it gave me those extra powers to then be able to work with the RSPCA and other partnerships to seize animals and be more effective.”She said that initially she worked in areas like Killingbeck and was faced with tasks like removing fighting dogs and became known by all of the RSPCA officers in West Yorkshire.
She said: “You don’t get a lot of officers thinking about it so it’s good to do it yourself. I just love it and they know I will do anything I can to help.
"I love doing other stuff but animals can't defend or speak for themselves so that’s why being able to help means a lot to me.”
In May this year, the RSPCA logged a call seeking assistance in relation to a rabbit that had been left unattended for four weeks without food or water. Due to a lack of police response the RSPCA contacted PC Brown directly.
PC Brown relayed the seriousness of the offence and the specific legislation required to officers, who later attended to find the rabbit in serious ill health. The rabbit was seized and handed to the RSPCA and following treatment survived.
She said: “That was a big one with the RSPCA as a lot of people would think ‘it’s just a rabbit’ but it’s a living creature and we needed to do something.”
PC Brown also told of an incident where she had seized a four month old bulldog from a woman who was disqualified from keeping animals, as well as seizing a puppy that was thrown out of a window during a domestic incident. She re-attended the incident address and seized a further two dogs and six puppies, prior to handing them to the RSPCA.
PC Brown said she “thought she was going to cry” after receiving her award and took the opportunity to urge her colleagues to read up on the relevant legislation for protecting animals. She said: “After the event so many people came and spoke to me about it and it’s opened so many doors for me.
"I hope it spreads through the force that we need to do more to support the RSPCA and protect animals.”