Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Young sniffer dog killed at New Zealand airport after running onto runway

Young sniffer dog killed at New Zealand airport after running onto runway

There is uproar in New Zealand after a runaway sniffer dog was shot dead by police on the tarmac at Auckland Airport.

According to reports, Grizz was getting into a dog unit wagon at around 0430 local time (1530 GMT 16 March) parked in the airport's public landside area, when he suddenly ran off and went through the security area gate onto the runway.

Ten-month-old Grizz was killed by police on Thursday after officials spent three hours failing to capture it in an incident that led to 16 flights being delayed for several hours.

The puppy made his way to a secure area and could not be coaxed back to the public part of the airport, causing delays to 16 domestic and worldwide flights.

The Aviation Security Service has 32 dogs employed at airports across New Zealand.

'Police can confirm that Auckland Airport staff directed police to shoot the AVSEC dog which was loose at the airport this morning, ' Counties Manukau Inspector Tracy Phillips said.

Earlier AVSEC spokesperson Mike Richards told 1 NEWS that Grizz slipped his handler at around 4.30am today.

All attempts to catch Grizz failed and police were told to shoot it as a last resort, it said.

The controversial decision angered some people in New Zealand, and some, including morning television hosts, asked why tranquilizers could not be used, One News channel said Friday.

The 10-month-old puppy was a cross between bearded collie and German short-haired pointer.

Another tweeted: "I am so angry that auckland airport and the police shot grizz dead. he was just a puppy #shameonyou #ripgrizz".

Asked by the BBC why the dog could not be tranquilised, an airport spokeswoman said: "I do not have the answer to that. The dog wasn't even on the tarmac".

He said there will be an investigation into what spooked the dog and how this might affect staff training in the future. Really? Why the hell couldn't you have called in Auckland Zoo or a vet, and had them use a tranquilliser gun instead?

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

Ms Midgen said her thoughts were with aviation security staff as they had lost an important team member.

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