New Delhi: In her heydays, her sharp olfactory senses helped nab many hardened criminals and curb narcotics smuggling in the city. With age and instincts failing her, the oldest female canine in the Delhi Police dog squad is being retired at the ripe age of 11. Bought for Rs 5,000 from a local dog breeder in 2002 when she was just seven months old, she was fondly named Anu for being the 'most friendly' canine.
She will be relieved of her duties by the end of March after serving the police force for over 10 years. "She is the only dog who can roam around freely, be it the training ground or the office. Not even the senior officers mind this...she is loved by all," a police officer told IANS, requesting anonymity.
The only female Doberman in the head unit of the city's dog squad in Model Town in north Delhi which has 14 more dogs - all Labradors - the veteran canine has assisted in the training of several other dogs before their induction. "Handlers took her help in training the new dogs as she was so experienced... but sadly she is not in her prime physical shape due to her age," said Constable Vidyasagar, Anu's handler.
He added that an NGO would be adopting her after her retirement. According to many other handlers, Anu was the star of several dog shows when she was young and had won many awards for her intelligence and agility. While age has slowed her down, it has failed to affect the winner in her. "Recently, she won a bronze medal in the All-India Police Duty Meet competition held in Haryana," the handler added.
According to Sub-Inspector Digvijay, in charge of the Model Town dog squad unit, the canines are inducted when they are eight months old and normally remain in service till they turn eight. "The dogs are very important as they help us detect explosives, seize drugs and track criminals," Digvijay said.
According to Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat, a Labrador would be replacing Anu and will be purchased from the Indian Army. "We have already written to them for purchasing two dogs," Bhagat said.
At present, 59 dogs of four different breeds are in the dog squad of Delhi Police's Crime Bbranch located in Chanakyapuri and RK Puram in south Delhi, Kalyanpuri in east Delhi and Janakpuri in west Delhi, apart from the main unit in Model Town.
Of the 59 dogs, 45 are Labradors, five are Dobermans, seven are Cocker Spaniels and two are German Shepherds. Most of the dogs were bought from the Indian Army's Remount Veterinary Corps based in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
A puppy aged around eight months costs between Rs 20,000 and Rs 35,000 while an older canine trained by the army would cost around Rs 2.5 lakh, a police officer said.