Tony Wright: Auckland Airport staff showed far too much mongrel

OPINION: After ordering a highly trained security dog to be shot dead by police, staff at Auckland Airport have shown they'll panic and make rash decisions when under pressure.

Poor old Grizz, the explosive detecting wonder dog, had his life cruelly ended by gunfire on Friday morning, after something spooked him and sent him on the run.

Grizz's antics delayed 16 domestic and international flights, but did he really have to be shot dead?

Grizz was killed because of the huge amounts of money involved - airlines are fined thousands for not getting to their destinations on time. 

The situation needed to be dealt with quickly, and in this case, rather ruthlessly.

Unfortunately for Grizz - the life of a dog was expendable.

Airport staff obviously panicked when the matter needed to be dealt with urgently - but whoever gave police the final order to shoot Grizz needs to be held accountable. When calm heads were needed, there was anything but.

Grizz wasn't even on the tarmac or runway area at all when he was shot - so why was it so urgent to kill him?

It costs thousands of dollars to train a dog like Grizz. They are a specialised animal which do a very important job - sniffing out explosive devices used by terrorists.

We all want our airports to be safe from terror - so why create your own terror by shooting dead a defenceless animal trained to fight it?

Did airport security or police not have a tranquiliser gun handy? Surely one could have been found with a few enquiries.

The fact they chose to kill Grizz outright is not only a public relations nightmare, but a gross mismanagement of resources.

Thousands of dollars went down the drain, the life of a beautiful and intelligent animal was cruelly ended, and the policeman who was ordered to pull the trigger might have suffered some psychological trauma.

But the worst aspect in all this was the rash decision-making that took place under pressure.

If staff at Auckland Airport couldn't control one of their own security dogs without shooting it dead, who knows how they'd handle an actual terror event or life-threatening situation.