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Counted Heart. Offline
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Auckland Airport. - March 19th 2017, 01:35 AM

Warning: this story may be distressing due to its subject matter.

Since nobody's brought it up yet, I figured I'd start a thread about an incident I feel very strongly about. For those of you who haven't heard about it, you can read a recap here and here (as well as numerous other places - you're welcome to do your own research).

Essentially, a trainee security service dog somehow managed to run away from his handler and, after trying to catch him for three hours, airport staff asked police to end the dog's life. An investigation is underway to determine what exactly happened and whether the right measures were taken, but, as expected when there's a cute puppy involved, the entire organisation is already dealing with public backlash - a lot of it. The Facebook page, for example, has experienced a significant drop in its rating due to an influx of one-star reviews over the past couple of days, with many people commenting that they will now boycott the airport entirely (which they may or may not stick to, but the sentiment is there).

I'm interested to know everyone's thoughts on the matter. My main concern with the incident is that it doesn't sound like the staff were prepared for this. If you're going to have working dogs on site, you absolutely need to have contingency plans because it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility that one of them will get loose one day, and it's imperative to have some kind of protocol to follow in that situation so nobody has to make spur of the moment decisions.

I'm also very curious about what ''spooked'' the dog and caused him to run away in the first place. Grizz, the puppy, was six months away from graduating, and with that amount of training invested in him you'd think that his handler/s would have a good idea of whether he was suitable for that line of work - and also that he would have reasonably good recall. If he was the kind of dog to get spooked easily or whose first instinct was to run away from his handler, he probably wasn't the right dog for the job, and they should have known that by this point.

I'd also very much like to know how he managed to get loose in the first place. As far as I know, these dogs are always supposed to be on lead so that situations like this don't happen. There also appears to have been some kind of communication breakdown somewhere along the way, since a spokesperson said that the dog ''managed to get airside when a gate opened to let a truck through'' [source]. Presumably if your trainee working dog gets loose, the first thing you'd want to do is seal off the area so you can work on getting him back. Was there not enough time to pass the information along to prevent the gate from being opened in the first place? Again, it comes back to there needing to be a protocol in place for this - which I'm hoping will be the outcome here if there wasn't already one (or if it wasn't followed). At the very least the airport should learn something from this experience.

Obviously I'm not an expert in dog behaviour, airport security, or any other field that would allow me to make definitive judgements on the matter, but I do have a lot of questions. It will be interesting to see what the investigation yields, because I for one would like to know more about how exactly this tragedy came to pass.

So what are your thoughts, everyone?

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Re: Auckland Airport. - March 19th 2017, 06:29 AM

I heard about this. I have mixed feelings about this.

My first logical question I had when I first heard about this was:
Why would they allow a dog being trained still be in an airport full of other people because clearly, the dog hasn't completed the training.

Despite the fact that dogs should be exposed, that type of exposure does not make any sense to me. The dog still had six more months of training, the dog should be in the training facility and not in the airport.

Another thought, could this dog actually been trained where they smelled, heard, or sensed something and just took off? I mean it could be possible. It wouldn't make sense as if this were to happen, the dog should have come back on recall. It seems the dog was determined to do something but who knows.

I disagree with them, taking forceful action and stopped the dog, causing a life to be lost. Whatever the dog's intentions were, or why the dog got loose, they should have not fatally put the dog down because it wasn't listening to it's handler. It seems this story is missing pieces.

I understand airports are massive, but this dog after three hours, should have gotten tired and gave up on running. Dogs typically come back, or go to humans it seems (could be wrong) so this three hours trying to catch the dog, it does not make sense to me. (my dog can't run for three hours straight like that and it is in his breed to run)

I hope that those missing pieces are filled because it doesn't make sense. Sure the dog caused a bunch of havoc for planes and delays but why would you bring a training dog right in the airport with it not being on a lead? It feels the dog wasn't loose for those three hours, if so the dog would end up very tired and thirsty so naturally it would just give up.

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Re: Auckland Airport. - March 19th 2017, 11:23 PM

I completely agree with the point Chess made about having a plan for a situation like this. I feel like they just freaked out and went with the easiest option. But I also feel like how could you shoot a puppy?? I just don't get it. I also find something fishy about the dog being loose for 3 hours too, it just doesn't sound realistic. Not really sure how I feel about the whole topic. Sad, but skeptical. They definitely could have handled this situation better.

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