Aviation

Dog shot dead at Auckland Airport after causing delays

Daisy Melwani

New Zealanders are up in arms over the fatal shooting of a security dog at Auckland Airport.

Grizz, a four-legged Aviation Security Services dog, was shot dead this morning after running loose on the tarmac at Auckland International Airport.

According to a report on News.com.au, the trainee dog was shot by police after getting spooked and running away from its handler, resulting in runway delays.

“Auckland Airport staff directed police to shoot the Avsec dog, which was loose at the airport this morning,” Inspector Tracy Phillips said, per the news report.

“This followed considerable efforts over several hours by Avsec and airport staff to contain the dog after it was first reported to be loose at 4am. This is not an outcome anyone wanted, and police were only asked to be involved as a last resort.”

According to the report, all efforts were made to capture Grizz, but the airport company had no option but to end the chase by fatally shooting the dog.

“The handler and Avsec are naturally upset but do understand there were no other options, in the very difficult circumstances. The dog was not on the tarmac at the time,” Avsec spokesman Mike Richards said, per the News.com.au report.

Richards said Avsec will now “try and ascertain what spooked the dog and if this has any implications for ongoing training”.

Meanwhile, Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said Grizz was only killed as a last resort, per a report on SMH.

“They did everything they could, but unfortunately the dog had to be shot,” she said.

“We’re really upset about it.”

News reports claim around 16 domestic and international flights were delayed as ground staff tried to catch the animal over a 3.5 hour period.

National animal rights organisation Safe declared the shooting of Grizz as “needless”, the paper reports. “Safe is appalled about the needless killing of this dog,” said spokesman Hans Kriek. “A tranquilliser gun should have been used after efforts to catch the dog failed.

“If such a gun was not available — which it should — then they could have borrowed one from Auckland Zoo or elsewhere. We hope that lessons will be learned from this and that better systems will be put in place to avoid such unnecessary killing in the future.”

Grizz was part of Auckland Airports’ Avesc programme, and had a job “to sniff for explosives and explosive materials not drugs or food. Each EDD team consists of one dog and one handler” according to the company’s website, per the report.

“These teams do a very important job protecting travellers, airline crew, airport workers and New Zealand at large by ensuring that no dangerous materials are present on aircraft or in our airports.”

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