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Customs' detector dog victory marred by theft

Customs' detector dog victory marred by theft

Customs dog handler Michael Walker and dog Major cleaned up at the recent National Dog Trials Championships held at Trentham. Michael and Major picked up the big award on Saturday 7 October, the Aviation Security Shield for the top government agency explosive detector dog team. Unfortunately, their celebrations were spoiled when Michael discovered the theft of another trophy the duo had been awarded only days earlier – the trophy for the best Customs explosive detector dog team.

"This is a bitter disappointment to us," says Dave Huff, Customs Team Leader Detector Dog Training. "Customs has only trained explosive detector dogs for the last three years so winning the national championships was really special. However this has been marred by having our Customs trophy stolen just days after awarding it and we're appealing to the public to help us recover this."

The trophy is very distinctive, consisting of a 76mm tank shell or drill round mounted on a base of light-coloured native wood. A photo is available from the Media Centre on Customs website www.customs.govt.nz. The trophy has little monetary value but has significant sentimental value for the Customs detector dog team. If anyone has any information about the trophy, please contact the Upper Hutt Police Station on 04 527 2300.

The National Dog Trial Championships tests the detection skills of dog handling teams from Police, Corrections, Aviation Security and Customs. Police Minister Hon Annette King presented the championship awards at a Ministerial parade marking the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre at Trentham Army Camp.

Customs detector dog handlers Melissa McMullen and dog Dallas and Monica Hoeg and dog Lulu placed third and fourth respectively in the drug detector dog sector of the National Dog Trial Championships. Photos of Michael, Melissa and Monica and their dogs are also available on the Media Centre section of the Customs website.

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