Eight-year-old Andrew, the lone Labrador with the Customs department at IGI Airport, has often helped detect consignments with narcotics and other prohibited items. The dog’s work pressure is set to reduce in the coming days, though, with the Customs department getting half a dozen canines, including English Cocker Spaniels, from a training centre to curb smuggling of currency, drugs, tobacco and animal parts.
The Customs department, which has had a longstanding demand to strengthen the squad of sniffer dogs at the airport, hopes to finally get the canines in the coming days. The Labrador was trained at the Border Security Force academy from the age of two, and arrived at the airport a few years ago. The dog was provided handlers to train it in detecting odours, including drugs, tobacco and explosives.
The dog currently helps Customs officials detect such consignments at both the arrival and departure terminals. A proposal for more dogs was sent to the authorities a few days ago. “Customs wrote a letter to senior officials, informing them about the current ground situation at the airport, and the importance of having canines in the squad,” a senior officer said.
The officer said the dogs would play a vital role. “Customs officials are also planning to provide proper uniforms to the dogs. The colour will be along the lines of dog uniforms at international airports, where the canines work shifts,” the officer said.
Explaining the advantage of having English Cocker Spaniels in the squad, the officer said, “While Labradors have an excellent track record as sniffers, the small size of English Cocker Spaniels makes them ideal for accessing areas where larger dogs cannot reach.”