This undated photo provided by the Aviation Security Service of New Zealand shows Grizz, a 10-month-old trainee security dog. Police shot dead a trainee security dog after it escaped its handler and ran onto the tarmac at Auckland, New Zealand, airport early on Friday, March 17, 2017, according to local media reports. (Aviation Security Service of New Zealand via AP)
Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
A 10-month-old puppy training to be an explosives detector dog was shot and killed Friday by police after getting loose from its handler at New Zealand’s Auckland Airport, CNN reported.
Reuters reported that 16 domestic and international flights were delayed when the bearded collie and German shorthaired pointer mix, named Grizz, escaped from his handler and was on the loose for three hours.
The puppy was being trained to detect explosives.
"The dog was clearly distressed and wouldn't let anyone near it, so the decision was made to shoot the dog," Auckland Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said.
The airport tweeted updates about the delay, initially saying that the dog had been caught.
Unfortunately still delays @AKL_Airport due to dog on our airfield updates to follow
SAFE for Animals ambassador Hans Kriek questioned why Grizz was not tranquilized rather than being shot, CNN reported.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told CNN that the dog “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.”
Richards said darkness outside made it hard to get the puppy.
"Of course it was dark for most of the time it was on the run. They tried everything they could, but just couldn’t lure the dog back. I think it was just freaked out," Richards said.
The CAA spokesman echoed similar statements: “We tried everything: Food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work ... In these difficult circumstances the Airport's Emergency Operations Center team decided to have the dog destroyed.”
“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,” Kreik said. The airport said it would investigate questions about tranquilizer use.