Explosive detector dog Grizz's death was preventable - report

The Aviation Security Service (AVSEC) has made numerous changes following an investigation into the shooting of an explosives detector dog at Auckland Airport.

Ten-month-old border collie/German short-haired pointer Grizz was shot and killed in March last year, after escaping his handlers and running rampant on the runway for three hours.

A report by barrister Andrew Scott-Howman has suggested a number of procedural changes to prevent it happening again, many of which have now been taken up.

Grizz initially escaped at 3:30am while off his leash and being taken out of the kennel for a toilet break.

A lack of fencing in the area and an open gate led to him being able to run away from his handler, something Mr Scott-Howman says should not have been able to happen.

An electronic gate has now been installed in the compound, as well as secondary fencing - and new slip leads will be used to move dogs around the area.

Following his escape, Grizz escaped he was already on the airfield by the time his handler reported the runaway dog to his manager at 3:48am.

He contacted the ACVSEC control room at 3:55am and AVSEC contacted Auckland Airport Operations Centre at 4:05am, half an hour after Grizz escaped.

New procedures at the airport now state a report must be made within minutes of the animal's escape and need to be directed to the Auckland Airport Operations Centre to allow the gates to be secured.

Finally, a staff member experienced in capturing dogs was not informed of the situation until they arrived at work at 5:20am and Emergency Operations Centre was not activated until 5:51am.

According to Mr Scott-Howman, both of these things would have been helpful to the recapture effort and should have taken place earlier.

New procedures at the airport now allow for the setting up of an EOC immediately after an animal becomes loose airside.

AVSEC says the incident was unfortunate but they are proud to see many of the reports recommendations have been taken up.

"I am satisfied that there was not a single individual responsible for what happened - rather a series of events led to this unfortunate outcome," said General Manager Mark Wheeler.

"A number of weaknesses in our own procedures and in other areas were highlighted in the report, and I am pleased to say significant changes have since taken place as a direct result of the regrettable shooting of our working dog, Grizz."