WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Flights from New Zealand’s Auckland Airport are returning to schedule after a runaway dog near the tarmac was shot dead by police because it was delaying planes taking off.
Sixteen domestic and international flights were delayed for safety reasons at the nation’s busiest airport while the dog was on the loose for three hours, a spokeswoman for Auckland Airport, Lisa Mulitalo, told Reuters.
“The dog was clearly distressed and wouldn’t let anyone near it so the decision was made to shoot the dog,” she said.
A police marksman killed the 10-month-old bearded-collie and German shorthaired pointer cross called Grizz, which was in training to detect explosives, said Mike Richards, a spokesman for New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service.
“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,” he said.
Mulitalo said the backlog of delayed flights would likely be cleared during the morning.
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook)
Why Didn’t Auckland Airport Use a Tranquilliser Gun for the Dog?
According to local New Zealand reports, Callum Irvine – head of veterinary services at the New Zealand Veterinary Association – said that while he understood the public’s upset reaction, this would not have been a decision made lightly and that it would’ve been “implausible” to use a tranquilliser.
He said: “Dart guns in themselves are very rarely used these days”, that they are only accurate at close range, and that you would probably only find one in a zoo.
“It isn’t necessarily very easy to sedate an animal that’s on the run and in distress like that. In that situation you can actually make the problem worse because the animal becomes partially sedated. It isn’t always the perfect solution it might appear to be.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) March 17, 2017
Hey Auckland Airport, ever heard of a tranquiliser gun!!!??? 😡
RIP little Grizz 😢
— Outback Camel (@aussiecamel9745) March 17, 2017
You shoot animals as a last resort when they are a danger to ppl. This dog was a danger only to airline timetables. https://t.co/xu5oXDHjZl
— Karen (@kcIMT122) March 17, 2017