Delhi Police strives to groom the perfect sniffer dog

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) With memories of Anuradha, one of its most brilliant sniffer dogs that died last month, still fresh, dog handlers of Delhi Police have started training five new Labradors, hoping to groom them to her level of excellence.

Fondly named Anu for being the “most friendly” canine, she was relieved of her duties at the end of March after serving the police force for over 10 years. Due to failing health, Anuradha died in early April, before her retirement process could be completed.

“The news of her death saddened us all… We miss Anu, she was special,” a handler told IANS.

The handler said when Anu was relieved of her duties, five Labradors – Gagan, Blade, Honda, Dambola and Munna, all of them one-and-a-half-years old – were inducted.

Bought for Rs. 1.5 lakh each in March from the Indian Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) based in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, the five are undergoing training similar to that of Anu’s.

“She was a master at detecting explosives and narcotics and tracking criminals…we will prepare a new Anuradha,” said a handler.

An added advantage for the new dogs is that the weather in the capital is more suitable for Labradors as compared to Anu’s Doberman breed.

“Dobermans demand a lot of care and looking after, but Labradors are easy and also have a long life-span,” the officer said.

According to Sub-Inspector Digvijay, in charge of the Model Town dog squad unit, the canines are inducted when they are eight months old and normally remain in service till they turn eight.

“The dogs are very important as they help us detect explosives, seize drugs and track criminals,” constable Vidya Sagar told IANS.

At present, 58 dogs of four different breeds are with the Delhi Police Crime Branch located in Chanakyapuri and R.K. Puram in south Delhi, Kalyanpuri in east Delhi and Janakpuri in west Delhi, apart from the main unit in Model Town.

With the induction of the five canines, the figure will rise to 64. Of them, 50 are Labradors, seven are Coker Spaniels, five are Dobermans and two are German Shepherds.

Most of the dogs were bought from the RVC but some, like Anuradha, were acquired from private breeders.

A puppy aged around eight months costs between Rs 20,000 and Rs 35,000 while an older canine trained by the army would cost around Rs 2.5 lakh, a police officer said.

Vidya Sagar said each dog is fed one litre of milk and chapati or porridge in the morning and half a kg of mutton at night.

Police sources said Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 per dog per month is spent on feeding and upkeep of the canines.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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