20 July, 2012
New detector dogs join biosecurity frontline
Primary Industries Minister David Carter was on hand today for the graduation of the first labradors to become biosecurity detector dogs.
Four of the five dogs are from a new Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) breeding programme, while the fifth dog joined the detector dog training programme from the Auckland pound.
“These dogs will play an important role in protecting New Zealand’s border. We have already seen the success of using beagles to detect biosecurity risk items at our airports,” says Mr Carter.
“Labradors have the advantage of being able to work in both passenger and mail pathways. However, I can reassure the public that MPI will continue to breed beagles.”
Mr Carter says MPI expects to have 11 new dogs graduate from its national training centre this year, eight of which will be matched with new handlers being recruited.
“The extra dogs will give MPI the ability to cover the majority of flights arriving at our main airports and to cover smaller airports when needed.
“Detector dogs and their handlers are an important part of our biosecurity frontline. The dogs’ visual presence at the airport is a big factor, they are great at detecting seeds and plants that x-rays may miss and they screen people faster than x-ray,” says Mr Carter.