Auckland Airport starts fresh inquiry into shooting of dog Grizz

5:18 pm on 18 March 2017

Auckland Airport will launch its own investigation into why an explosives detector dog was shot dead on the runway yesterday.

Grizz - the Aviation Security dog shot after getting loose at Auckland Airport.

Grizz was shot dead after getting loose at Auckland Airport. Photo: Supplied

The dog, Grizz, escaped from its handler about 4.30am and ran onto the runway.

The 10-month-old bearded collie/German short-haired pointer cross eluded recapture for three hours, disrupting about 16 flights.

Police were asked to shoot it as a last resort.

The Aviation Security Service (Avsec) has already started an investigation. It has not said why a tranquiliser was not used.

The story made headlines around the world. The airport has faced a storm of criticism, with people venting their anger on the airport's Facebook page.

Airport spokesperson Lisa Mulitalo said the incident was difficult for all airport staff.

She acknowledged the "strong community response".

In a statement issued today, Auckland Airport said it would carry out its own review of "the events surrounding yesterday's death of [Grizz] ... and will liaise closely with the Aviation Security Service, which is also conducting a review.

"The Emergency Operations Centre team, which includes representatives of the border agencies, airlines, ground handlers and New Zealand Police, made their difficult decision only after they exhausted all the viable options available to them."

"Our thoughts continue to be first and foremost with the ... dog handler, his colleagues, and all those who were involved."

Avsec said the young dog fled its handler while it was being loaded into the back of a unit wagon.

It got into the security area when a gate opened to let a truck through.

Airport staff tried to coax Grizz back using toys, other dogs, food and a range of handlers, Avsec said.

It was difficult to track the dog in the dark and, when he was found, he would dart across the runway, they said.

Grizz was six months away from graduating as an explosives detector dog.

An Air New Zealand plane at Auckland Airport.

Auckland Airport. Photo: 123RF