26 September 2023

Detector dogs welcome new graduate

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Australia’s frontline detector dog program remains at 42 strong after detector dog Velvet retired and new graduate Finlay joined the ranks.

First Assistant Secretary of Biosecurity Operations at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Colin Hunter said detector dogs and their handlers were a vital part of the country’s biosecurity detection capabilities and intercepted tens of thousands of biosecurity risk items each year.

“Detector dogs play an important role in ensuring biosecurity compliance of travellers and are key to finding difficult to detect biosecurity risk,” Mr Hunter said.

“Velvet has retired to a loving home, has settled in nicely with the rest of her new pack and now enjoys long walks on the beach,” he said.

“The most recent graduate, Finlay, completed his novice detector dog training in January.”

Mr Hunter said that, following a brief deployment in the mail, traveller and cargo environments in Brisbane, Finlay (pictured) was on his way to Sydney to continue sniffing out biosecurity threats.

He said at only two years old, Finlay was very energetic, “at his graduation he preferred to play tug of war with his hat rather than wear it, showing everyone his playful side”.

“With the return of international travel, detector dog teams around the country are ready to meet the increased demand for screening,” Mr Hunter said.

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