Auckland Airport Authority Shoots Runaway Security Dog

Authorities in Auckland Airport have shot and killed a runaway dog after it delayed a number of morning flights by running astray on the runway, Stuff reports. The incident took place on Friday morning. The Aviation Security dog named Grizz was shot after escaping from his handlers and running around on the airport’s runway, delaying the scheduled flights.

Airport Dog Auckland
Airport Authorities asked the Police to shoot the dog. [Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images]

After spending almost three hours trying to get a hold of the dog, airport authorities were forced to ask the police to intervene and kill the dog. The incident caused a lengthy delay to almost a dozen flights that were scheduled to take off at the time.


Many have since criticized Auckland Airport for making the decision to kill the dog. Many have suggested that the Airport Authorities should have considered tranquilizing the dog, instead of killing it. But an expert vet has commented that killing the dog was indeed the best option available. Callum Irvine who is the head of vet services at the New Zealand Veterinary Association has been a vet for 19 years. He put his point across as follows.

“There just isn’t ready access to tranquilizer guns and darts in New Zealand, and even if authorities did manage to get their hands on one in time, there are so many other factors to take into consideration, like how close the animal is, the animal’s weight, age, and how much adrenaline was also running through the body.”

According to Irvine, even though vets do have access to sedative drugs in their clinics, they wouldn’t carry tranquilizer guns with them, since they would have little use for them. Irvine justifies his statement as follows.

“The bottom line is that probably no vet clinic in the country actually has or uses tranquilizer guns or darts anymore. The only place that you might see a tranquilizer gun used is in a wildlife park or in a zoo, and even then, very rarely – it’s a fairly crude form of delivery of sedation.”

Irvine further added that to administer such as dart, authorities would need to get close to the animal, since most tranquilizer darts are designed for animals that are kept in enclosures. Irvine said that it would simply be impossible to administer a sedative drug to a dog on the loose, further adding that even if there were such a dart, there would be no way of accurately deciding the dosage of the sedative. Irvine says that a partially sedated animal can be more distressed and confused than an unsedated animal. All in all, Irvine suggested that the Auckland Airport authorities simply did what they had to do.

“We don’t know the circumstances under which the dog was shot this morning – but the reality is that it administering sedative to an animal on the loose can be very difficult. If it’s not done right, a partially sedated animal can become even more distressed, and fearful and difficult to manage – and become even more of a danger to those around it.”

Runaway Dog shot and killed in new zealand
Authorities say that 16 flights were delayed due to the incident. [Image by guvendemir/iStockphoto]

The son of the handler who was responsible for the dog that was shot has since posted on Facebook, writing that his father is extremely saddened by what happened. Nicky Thorburn wrote that the decision was the last resort for his father. He urged people to be more understanding and have compassion. In order to address comments throughout the internet blaming the dog’s handler for the whole incident, Nicky pointed out that his father has worked in customs and aviation security for over 30 years and is one of the best at what he does.


According to the aviation security spokesman at Auckland Airport, a total of 16 flights were delayed during the time Grizz was loose. After being spooked and running away from his handler at 4:30 in the morning, the dog ran loose for three hours. Finally at 7:30 a.m., airport authorities called the police, who shot and killed the dog.

[Featured Image by humonia/Shutterstock]