/ 20 August 2007

Police dogs receive medals for outstanding service

Six months after sniffing their way to fame in Malaysia, Labrador crime dogs Lucky and Flo were awarded medals on Monday for “outstanding service” in tracking down pirated discs.

The exploits of the canine sleuths, who nosed out about 21-million ringgit ($6-million) in illegal merchandise during their half-year stint, endeared them to Malaysians and regularly landed them on the front pages in the country.

The Malaysian government said more than 2,7-million illegal discs have been seized this year — about two million of which were uncovered by the dogs, who were to return to the United States later in the day.

“Lucky and Flo have done us proud,” said Dan Glickman, chairperson and chief executive of the US-based Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which sent over the canines.

“Our canine colleagues proved valued friends in the war against optical disc piracy,” he said.

The pair were so successful that Malaysian crime syndicates had put a bounty on their heads.

The three-year-old dogs are from Northern Ireland. They are trained to sniff chemicals in discs but cannot distinguish between pirated and legal versions — a job they leave to humans.

Lucky’s talent was first discovered when she was given up by her owner, who could not control her voracious appetite for chewing up shoes and furniture.

She was then sent to a kennel where Flo was being trained to retrieve ducks shot in a hunt, their handler Mick Buchan said.

Buchan said the duo will probably work until they are about 10, after which they would be retired — and most likely adopted by their handlers.

He said stories of the dogs being wanted dead had outraged British animal lovers.

“The British sometimes love their pets more than their own children,” he said. — AFP