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Hanging up the harness - Detector Jerry retires

04.06pm 16 February 2017 | News

Another one of our talented detector dogs has stepped down from his role at the border this week.

Jerry is well-known at Wellington Port for being a confident and reliable detector. Born on 10 August 2009, he spent the first year of his life in Melbourne with a foster family as part of the Australian Border Force’s (ABF) detector dog breeding programme. The puppies that are bred by the ABF are placed into homes from the age of about eight weeks so that they have a necessary social and environmental conditioning they need.

After impressing NZ Customs trainers in his tests, Jerry was selected in 2010 when he was just 12 months old. Two weeks later, he took his first steps on New Zealand soil and was paired with his handler Debbie. He passed his training programme with flying colours and became an operational dual-trained drug and cash detector dog.

Jerry has been working at the border for a remarkable six and a half years. Over this time, he has been involved with a number of drug and cash intercepts at New Zealand’s border. One of Jerry’s favourite work areas has been the port where he can search cargo, he has also become one of our most successful detectors at the airport.

In more recent years, he has located just over NZ$260,000 of undeclared cash. He has also enjoyed great success at multi-agency search warrants. On one occasion he indicated in five different areas in one bedroom where he found methamphetamine, cash, cannabis oil, cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

Jerry has won the Customs Regional Trials and represented Customs at the National Dog Trials four times. Teams from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch compete at the trials. The team’s skills are tested through a range of different scenarios that are based on experiences they would encounter in an operational environment. The top two teams then go on to represent Customs at the National Dog Trails competing against NZ Police and Corrections.

His handler Debbie says “the Regional Dog Trails were an excellent way for Jerry to showcase the skills he used at the border. I am so proud of him and all he has achieved during his career, and his success at the regional trails reflects that, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog to be paired with.”

Jerry has travelled from Auckland to Queenstown working alongside lots of Customs Officers. Many staff throughout the organisation adore Jerry because of his gentle and unique character. He enjoys receiving plenty of pats and cuddles - leaving behind white fur on the officer’s uniforms.

Jerry will spend his time in retirement in the company of Debbie and his sister Dallas (a former Customs detector dog).

Debbie says “Although Jerry will miss all his friends across the country that he has met along the way, especially those at the Wellington District Port, I'm sure he will enjoy retirement. He wil be spending his time sleeping in, soaking up the sun on the deck, getting in regular swims and possibly indulging in a few treats.”