Slain police dogs honoured in new memorial

Dozens of police dogs killed on duty have been honoured in a new memorial being unveiled at the New Zealand Police Dog training centre in Upper Hutt on Wednesday.

Since 1972, 24 police dogs have been killed while on duty.

The wall of remembrance has individual plaques displaying each dog's name, the date they were killed, and their handler's name.

Ten of the dog handlers of those featured on the memorial were at the event, seven of whom have since retired from duty.

Senior Constable Bruce Lamb spoke of his partner Gage, who took a bullet for him and saved his life seven years ago.

Senior Constable Bruce Lamb (Emma Joliff / Newshub.)
Senior Constable Bruce Lamb (Emma Joliff / Newshub.)

Snr Const Lamb was shot by a drug addict in a Christchurch house. Gage leapt at the attacker as Snr Const Lamb lay on the floor and took a fatal shot, saving his handler.

"I walked down the hallway and pushed the door open, the second I pushed the door open there was a shot fired at very close range which hit me in the face.

"It knocked me to the ground; I had Gage with me luckily. I turned to look at the offender and he was coming over the top of me to shoot me a second time. I thought quite clearly I'm about to die and as he shot, Gage did exactly what he was supposed to do."

The German shepherd did what he was trained to do and launched himself at the offender.

"The shot hit him in the middle of the back and unluckily for him nicked the top of his aorta. He bled out in about 90 seconds.

"He's got a very special part in my heart, because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here today.

"He was a magnificent police dog, I've had five [and] he was by far the best I ever had.

Constable Josh Robertson unveiled a plaque for his dog Gazza, who was shot and killed in Porirua last year.

Mr Robertson described Gazza as outstanding, driven and loyal.

"Outside of work he was a very playful, soft, loving dog. He was an all-rounder really, he delivered at work and he delivered at home. I was very lucky".

"I miss him every day. It's not something you just get over immediately when you get given another dog. It takes time, like anything time does heal but it's always there eh, it's a bit of an open wound."

In the same period that the 24 dogs were killed, 11 police officers were slain while on duty.

Newshub.

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