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Grizz the airport security dog shot after escape

An airport security dog has been shot dead by police in New Zealand after it escaped from its handler, causing flight delays. Grizz, a trainee explosives detector dog, was being loaded into a van by his handler in the public area at Auckland Airport at around 4.30am on Friday local time. It is not clear what spooked the 10-month-old bearded collie/German short haired pointer cross but he ran off and managed to get into the airport’s secure area when a gate opened to let a truck through. Aviation Security Service (Avsec) spokesman Mike Richards told Sky News that off duty dog handlers were called in to help search for Grizz.

“The fact that the incident took place very early in the morning did not help as it was pitch black for the first two hours and he could not be found,” he said. Grizz had been six months away from graduating but he did not have a permanent handler, which meant he was “less responsive” to those searching for him. Mr Richards added: “When he was located he would not let anyone near him and kept sprinting across the runways.

“We tried everything – food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work. “The area is too vast and too open to try and use mobile fencing.” Meanwhile, 16 flights were delayed. Auckland Airport decided to have police shoot Grizz, according to Inspector Tracy Phillips of Counties and Manukau District Police.

She added: “This is not an outcome which anyone wanted, and police were only asked to be involved as a last resort.” 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.” Mr Richards said that Grizz’s handler at the time and his colleagues were “naturally quite shaken but understand the reasons for the decision”.

Each dog like Grizz costs $100,000 ( 56,500) to train, he added. Among those who criticised the decision to shoot Grizz was popular TVNZ breakfast show host Hilary Barry, who said: “They’ve got to have tranquiliser guns, surely. “They shot the dog dead.

“I don’t care if your plane is delayed, they don’t need to shoot the dog.”

New Zealand news websites also ran polls which showed that the majority of those voting thought Grizz should not have been killed.

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