Shooting of airport security dog provokes outrage

The safety of the dog and people on the ground and in the air were paramount in the decision-making, an spokesperson for the airport added.

Insp. Phillips noted the action was a "last resort", and was not what anyone wanted. They said they were chasing the dog for three hours. Aviation security is investigating.

Despite attempts by Auckland Airport and aviation security staff to catch the dog, it was loose for several hours. "In these hard circumstances the Airport's Emergency Operations Center team made a decision to have the dog destroyed".

Mulitalo said the backlog of delayed flights would likely be cleared during the morning.

Members of the public questioned why Grizz wasn't knocked out with tranquilisers. "You don't need to shoot the dog".

Avsec spokesman Mike Richards said "something", believed to have been a disturbance, caused Grizz to escape.

Mr Richards said 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 Grizz simply could not be found.

"The handler and Avsec are naturally upset but do understand there were no other options".

The runway at Auckland Airport.

"I would say it's one of those unfortunate accidents", she said.

4am Friday local time (3pm Thursday GMT): Grizz was being moved into a dog unit vehicle when something spooked him, causing him to flee. They were hard to replace.

Mr Richards said the focus in coming days would be on understanding what had gone wrong.

He said an investigation is underway to determine what spooked Grizz and if it will have any implications for ongoing training.

It costs around £56,000 to train a sniffer dog like Grizz.

"These teams do a very important job protecting travellers, airline crew, airport workers and New Zealand at large by ensuring that no unsafe materials are present on aircraft or in our airports". They're based in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Dog teams undergo 10 weeks of training before graduating from the Police Dog Training Centre as operational. According to reports, the dog wasn't on the tarmac when it was shot.

He added that there were no traquiliser guns at the airport and that the police did not have them either.

  • Elsie Buchanan