An aviation security dog has been shot dead at Auckland International Airport.
Grizz, a 10-month-old trainee sniffer dog, was being handled by the government’s Aviation Security Service (Avsec) in the airport’s public landside area when something spooked him, causing him to flee.
16 domestic and international flights were delayed as staff attempted to capture the dog, who had been in training to detect explosives.
After three hours, airport staff gave the order to police to shoot the bearded collie/German shorthaired pointer cross – despite him not being on the tarmac at the time.
Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo told the New Zealand Herald: “The dog was clearly distressed and wouldn’t let anyone near it so the decision was made to shoot the dog.”
Inspector Tracy Phillips of Counties Manukau District Police said: “Auckland Airport staff directed police to shoot the Avsec dog, which was loose at the airport this morning.
“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.”
What has the reaction been?
Globally, the reaction has been one of shock and disgust that more couldn’t have been done to save Grizz.
Screw you auckland airport for shooting one of your own staff dead this morning.
— Sean Plunket (@SeanPlunket) March 16, 2017
@julzbanks Any reason why they couldn't have used a tranquilizer rather than bullets?
— Cheryl B (@chezlemans) March 17, 2017
Many have asked why a tranquiliser gun wasn’t used to subdue the dog, but it has been confirmed that no such device was available to police or airport staff.
Gael Cowell Chung wrote on Auckalnd Airport’s Facebook page: “Bloody wasteful, needless action…idiots…The dog wasn’t even on the tarmac.”
How have people defended it?
Others felt the blame lay elsewhere. Phil Maurice wrote on the airport’s Facebook page: “Fire and shoot the useless handler who failed to control the animal properly.”
Avsec spokesman Mike Richards said: “All efforts to capture the dog were exhausted and the airport company had no option but to request police to shoot the dog.”
“The handler and Avsec are naturally upset but do understand there were no other options, in the very difficult circumstances.”
Grizz’s last moments
4am Friday local time (3pm Thursday GMT): Grizz was being moved into a dog unit vehicle when something spooked him, causing him to flee.
4.01am: Ground staff immediately set about trying to catch the dog. During this time, 16 flights were delayed. Police were called in and told to shoot Grizz, allowing flights to be resumed.
7am: Grizz was shot dead.