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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

South African Crime Fighting Dog Retires

This is a great story about a dog called Emma I found at Times Live.

A golden Cocker Spaniel trained as a sniffer dog will report for duty for the last time on Thursday after nearly a decade of nosing the streets for drugs and crime.

The sniffer dog known as Emma, said to be the pride of the SA Police Service and to have made big men quiver, would retire from the Pretoria Dog Unit for a well deserved rest, said police spokeswoman Captain Colette Weilbach on Wednesday.

"Drug lords and drug dealers in Gauteng feared her. Emma has during her years in police service assisted in the closing down of twelve drug laboratories and putting more than 350 drug dealers behind bars in Gauteng."

The value of the drugs that Emma sniffed out added up to around R60 million, and she in her career had knocked on death's door twice with drug poisoning.

Her partner in fighting crime, Inspector Leonard De Jager, trained Emma from when she was a puppy.

Wielbach said the "first-rate team", with a long track record of successes and achievements, was separated for a year and a half when Emma was transferred to OR Tambo International Airport.

They reunited and worked together for another seven years.

Emma this year walked away with four awards, said Wielbach.

She has in for the last five consecutive years received a trophy for the best drug dog, for the most drug arrests in Pretoria, and a trophy for the dog with the most arrests linked with violent crimes such as house robberies and hijackings.

Emma also received an award for most searches conducted in open fields, vehicles and buildings, as well as another trophy for the best specialist dog in Pretoria.

Her retirement is due to the fact that she was getting slower, having less energy at ten years of age.

When asked what he will miss the most about Emma, De Jager said after a day's work while driving back to the unit, his "poppie" would put her head outside the window.

De Jager would then put his hand outside reaching to the rear, and Emma would press her small black nose in his palm.

De Jager has his own dogs at home, and has found Emma a place with one of his best friends so he can visit her at any time.

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