Rehomed dogs to begin explosive detection work at NZ airports

24 May 2016

Shelter canines turn out to be ‘the bomb’ at explosives detection

The Aviation Security Service (‘Avsec’) is proud to officially welcome five new dogs into its explosive detector dog (EDD) unit, working to protect our nation’s airports and skies.

The dogs, including four sourced from animal shelters, today graduated as fully trained explosive detector dogs in a ceremony at Avsec’s Auckland base.

Avsec is the branch of the Civil Aviation Authority responsible for providing security services at New Zealand’s five security-designated airports, and has a prestigious EDD training programme which was officially recognised by the United States’ Transportation Security Administration in 2014—a world-first acknowledgement.

The ten-week programme consists of an allocation course where the teams are assessed for suitability, and a nine-week Explosive Detector Dog Course. The course is delivered and supervised by an experienced instructor who trains teams (consisting of one Avsec handler and one dog per team) to search and find explosives in different environments. At the end of the course the teams are tested and certified by the New Zealand Police. A passing grade means the teams graduate as ‘operational’.

Avsec is especially thrilled that it is able to provide shelter dogs with a new chance at life in service of New Zealand, with caring and capable handlers.

Avsec EDD National Manager Monique Masoe says, “These are highly active, confident and playful dogs.”

“These attributes mean that they can get into trouble in domestic settings but the same attributes make them perfect working dogs. We channel that energy and drive in a way that is productive and fulfilling for the dogs.”

Monique says that Avsec has strong relationships with animal shelters because of their common interest in securing positive outcomes for both the dogs and the communities that they live in.

“As an EDD, the dogs enjoy a great life and do an important job—not just for Avsec, but for the travelling public and airport community,” she says.


About the soon-to-be-graduates

  • Taz is a Labrador/Staffie cross from the Wellington pound. He loves searching for things and enjoys relaxing in the sun on his days off.
  • TJ is a German Shorthaired Pointer/Beardie cross sourced from a breeder in Oxford.
  • Ash is a Labrador from the Pukekohe pound. Bursting with energy, Ash loves working at the airport and playing with rolled tea-towels.
  • Kane is a Border Collie from the Silverdale pound who works hard and plays harder. On a hot day, he loves being squirted with water from the hose.
  • Marley is a Labrador/Staffie cross from HUHA – an animal rescue organisation where a number of Avsec’s already operational dogs were sourced from.