Animal lovers around the world are outraged as news of the death of a 10-month old puppy at the hands of New Zealand police quickly spread.
On Friday, Grizz, a 10-month old mixed breed puppy in training as an Aviation Security Service (Avsec) explosives detection dog at the Aucklund Airport in New Zealand escaped his handler and ran loose for several hours, evading capture. Avsec spokesman Mike Richards said that around 4:30am local time, Grizz was getting into a dog unit wagon parked in the airport’s public landside area, when “something” caused it to escape.
“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.
Grizz managed to run through an opened security gate onto the tarmac, delaying flights for three hours while airport officials searched for him. When he was finally located, “he would not let anyone near him and kept sprinting across runways.
“We tried everything: food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work,” Richards told the BBC, adding that the area was “too vast and too open” to erect temporary fencing.
After three hours and 16 delayed flights, airport officials finally ordered police to shoot Grizz.
SAFE for Animals Ambassador Hans Kriek condemned the killing, asking why the dog wasn’t tranquilized. He said that during that 3 hours that airport staff were chasing Grizz, someone could have called in a tranquilizer gun.
“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.
In response, hundreds of dog lovers around the world have visited the Aucklund Airport’s Facebook Page to post photos of their own dogs and express outrage over Grizz’s death.
The Aviation Security Service is investigating the incident and whether tranquilizing Grizz was an option.