POST-26/11 they were hired to tackle fidayeen attacks at airports. However, the new pack of 20 attack dogs hired to guard the Mumbai airport has become a cause of fear among fliers and airport staff.
Last week, two of these German Shepherds hired from Thane-based Marshall Dog Training Centre bit their trainer.
The incident took place at around 8 am when the domestic terminal is bustling with peak hour travellers.
“Sanjeev Darshan, the dog handler on duty forgot to put the muzzle guard on one of the dogs. It suddenly attacked another
dogs and bit Darshan when he intervened,” said a Bureau of Civil Aviation Security official requesting anonymity.
He added, “These are a ferocious breed. It is dangerous to let them open without a muzzle.”
Subsequently, the 25-year-old Darshan was rushed to the airport doctor.
Already the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has a dog squad of 12 sniffer dogs, which are used to sniff explosives and narcotics.
However, sources said there is little known about the history of these dogs and the credentials of their trainers.
As per the prescribed procedure, the CISF dog handlers are sent to Bhanu, near Chandigarh along with the short-listed dogs
for a 6-month long rigorous training.
“It is a serious case if the dog bit the trainer. The trainer’s word is the final word for these dogs,” said a senior dog trainer with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hospital in Parel.
All airports dogs are sent for routine check-up to the hospital. He added, “It could be either the canine is stressed or the handler lacks training.”
He further explained, “The attacking breed is very sensitive. Even if there is a difference in their meal (at the training centre or at the airport), it could trouble them.”
Despite of several attempts to contact Sanjay Prakash, senior commandant, CISF was unavailable for comment. Even Ishant Sharma, owner of Marshall Dog Training Centre could not be reached.