26 September 2023

2022’s top detector dog named

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The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has announced its ‘Top Dog’ of 2022, honouring biosecurity detector dog, Qubit.

Acting Secretary of DAFF, Chris Locke said the Department awarded the ‘Top Dog’ title to a detector dog and handler team who had significantly contributed to Australia’s biosecurity efforts.

Dr Locke said the 2022 title was given to Qubit and handler Sam (pictured) for their contribution to protecting Australia against biosecurity threats including foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Melbourne Airport and the Melbourne Mail Gateway.

“Qubit and Sam sniffed out and seized more FMD risk material—meat and dairy products—than any other biosecurity dog team last year,” Dr Locke said.

“Together they intercepted 126 products with the potential to carry FMD and seized 765 individual biosecurity risk items,” he said.

“In 2022 we saw the threat of FMD and lumpy skin disease grow as it was detected in our near neighbour, Indonesia.”

Dr Locke said ‘Top Dog’ special mentions were also awarded to other biosecurity dog teams, with two Sydney-based Detector Dogs, Vespa and Emma, awarded ‘Most Versatile’ and ‘Rookie of the Year’.

He said the Department had 46 Labradors working as biosecurity detector dogs across Australia’s international airports, mail centres and seaports, and this would increase to 62 Labradors over the next two years.

“Biosecurity detector dogs are a vital part of our biosecurity defence at the border,” the Acting Secretary said.

“They are teamed with our detector dog handlers, who are biosecurity officers with specialised skills to effectively train and deploy a detector dog,” he said.

“Together, they do a great job of protecting Australia alongside the other measures we deploy to mitigate risk of exotic pests and diseases.”

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