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Tag: sniffer

Bomb detecting dog in training shot and killed at New Zealand airport

grizz

A dog being trained to detect bombs at New Zealand’s Auckland Airport was shot by police — under orders from the airport — after he ran off from his handlers and caused flights to be delayed.

Airport officials said handlers, security staff and police officers spent three hours trying to capture the dog.

But, after 16 flights had to be delayed, they gave police the go ahead to shoot the 10-month-old border collie and German shorthaired pointer mix. They insisted it was a last resort.

The shooting was condemned by animal rights activists and others.

The dog, named Grizz, was training to be an Aviation Security explosion detector and was six months away from graduation, CNN reported.

After handlers tried unsuccessfully to recapture him, and to coax him off the runway, airport staff told police to shoot him.

Then they got on Twitter and reported he had been recaptured.

Not until an hour later did they reveal the dog had been killed.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Grizz was not on the tarmac but on the outer perimeter of the airfield when he was shot.

SAFE for Animals Ambassador Hans Kriek condemned the killing, asking why the animal wasn’t tranquilized, but a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said he “didn’t believe” that had been an option.

Grizz escaped from his handler at around 4.30 a.m. Friday (local time) and ran out onto the tarmac at Auckland Airport, according to the CAA spokesman.

“He was on an initial airport environment socialization program as part of his training … The airport Emergency Operations Center was activated and a full search was commenced,” he said in a statement.

But the spokesman said it was too dark and the area too large to quickly find and contain the puppy.

“We tried everything, food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work … In these difficult circumstances the Airport’s Emergency Operations Center team decided to have the dog destroyed,” he said

Animal activist Kriek said other alternatives should have been explored.

“Ultimately they have to call the police in to shoot the dog, and the police have access to tranquilizer guns, and there’s also a zoo nearby that would have one as well. So we don’t understand why they didn’t do that,” he said.

An airport spokesman said the question of a tranquilizer gun, and the entire incident, would be reviewed.

Dog helps elephant at rhino orphanage

A dog who grew up at an orphanage for rhinos, then left to pursue a career as a tracker, is back at the orphanage and has a new mission now — as an elephant’s best friend.

The German shepherd, named Duma, was still a pup when he arrived at the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa, where he was trained to help locate orphaned rhinos in the wild — before they became prey for poachers.

After three years, though, his tracking duties were required elsewhere, and rhino rehabilitation specialist Karen Trendler reluctantly said goodbye to Duma.

This past fall, Trendler gleefully announced on Facebook that Duma, after a year away, was back.

He arrived just in time to help deal with a young elephant named Ellie.

Ellie had been abandoned by his herd and arrived at the orphanage with several health issues. While those had improved, Ellie — the only elephant at the rhino orphanage — remained down in the dumps.

Until he met Duma.

On top of his other duties, Duma has brought Ellie out of her shell and the two have become inseparable, as shown in this report by EarthTouch News.

The dog that helps clean up OUR mess

Sable_restingFor all those who fret obsessively about dogs leaving environmentally damaging messes behind — not that it’s not a valid concern — here’s a story of a dog who’s helping clean up the messes we leave behind.

Sable, a discarded German shepherd mix adopted from an animal shelter, has been trained to sniff out illegal sewer connections, which dump billions of gallons of bacteria-filled water into rivers, lakes and streams each year, leading to closed beaches, contaminating fisheries and costing millions to clean up.

Scott Reynolds adopted Sable with the idea of training him to sniff out illegal sewer connections. Now, after a year of work in Michigan’s Kawkawlin River, Sable has earned enough praise to be top dog at Environmental Canine Services, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“In the mornings, he runs to the back room and looks to the hook where his harness is, as if to say, ‘Do we get to do this today?’ ” Reynolds said. “He loves to work.”

Sable is scheduled to do his thing next in Santa Barbara, California, then head to Maine next spring to help track pollution that has closed shellfish beds along the coast.

Sable sniffs water in drains and pipes — often buried in deep woods or under fallen trees — to detect illegal sewer connections. He barks when he smells raw sewage.

Sable also  has his own website, sablethesniffer.com.

Sable has an 87% accuracy rate measured against lab results, Reynolds says.

Normally, municipalities send human employees to detect illegal sewer connections — a bit of a guessing game, and a process that requires lab tests that can take weeks.

The dog was turned over by owners who mistreated him, said Autumn Russell of Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, near Grand Rapids. “No one had any idea of his potential,” she said.

Reynolds, who has trained other rescued dogs for search and rescue and narcotics detection, spent more than a year training Sable to sniff out waste, ammonia and detergents that signal illegal connections.

(Photo: By Robert Domm, courtesy of Environmental Canine Services)

Stray-turned-police dog dies in vehicle in N.J.

pattonA golden retriever rescued as a stray and trained to sniff out bombs for the Mount Holly, N.J., Police Department has died.

Patton, who was 5 years old, died in the vehicle of his handler and partner, Officer Kara McIntosh, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

“We’re investigating every aspect of the case,” said Mount Holly Police Chief Steve Martin.

A spokesman for the New Jersey SPCA said his office was awaiting results of an autopsy performed at the Columbus Animal Hospital. He declined to say whether heat had played a part in the dog’s death. It was unclear how long Patton had been left in the vehicle, or whether McIntosh was working at the time of Patton’s death.

Martin declined to comment on the circumstances leading to the dog’s death.

According to a website dedicated to golden retrievers, Patton was discovered by Mount Holly officers looking for a K-9 dog at the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue’s Golden Gateway, in Lancaster County.

After intensive training, Patton learned to recognize more than 20 scents, and specialized in rooting out shell casings. He became part of a statewide task force under the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

The Trentonian quoted an anonymous source as saying the dog died at an animal hospital after being left in a hot car for an extended period of time.

Medal awarded to heroic dog sold at auction

 

A medal bestowed upon a one-time stray named Rip who helped find trapped survivors during the Blitz in London has been sold at auction.

The medal fetched a high bid of $35,700, made on behalf of an anonymous bidder.

Rip, a mutt, was awarded the Dickin Medal after helping find more than 100 victims of air raids.

The medal is named for Maria Dickin, the founder of the veterinary charity PDSA, and has been given since 1943 to animals that had shown “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”.

Rip was left homeless after the Luftwaffe attacked East London, in 1940, and roamed the streets until an air raid warden named King befriended him.

Without any training, he became the service’s first sniffer dog, showing an instant talent for finding victims covered by rubble.

“Despite the dangers, he worked courageously through the crashing and explosions of the bombing raids, braved fire and smoke with apparent disdain, and was completely unfazed by the air-raid sirens that used to strike fear into the hearts of the population,” the Daily Mail reports. 

It was partly due to Rip’s performance, that authorities later decided to train dogs formally to trace casualties.