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Himachal Pradesh Police dog squad gets new home

German Shepherd Hero, who was imported from Ireland for 250 pounds, was the first member of the state’s dog squad in 1957.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2017 22:01 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Dog squard,Himachal dog squard,Himachal police
The squad comprises German Shepherds, Labradors, Retrievers, Doberman and Cocker Spaniels.(HT Photo)

What do Rambo, Singham, Krish and Max have in common? They’re among the 20-member Himachal Police dog squad, all named after Hollywood and Bollywood characters.

The dog squad, set up in 1957, is now in the process of being shifted from the Police Lines at Bharari, 3 km from Shimla, to an upgraded kennel facility at the Himachal Pradesh Armed Police Battalion, Junga, 24 km from here. The shifting of the squad, which was at Chaura Maidan before it being stationed in Bharari, will be complete in a month.

“The Himachal Pradesh Police has one of the country’s oldest dog squads. The squad, comprising sniffers and trackers, has helped crack important and complicated cases. The dogs are trained in tracking murders and thefts besides sniffing out narcotics and explosives,” says state director general of police Somesh Goyal.

The squad has a sanctioned strength of 40. “A proposal has been sent to the government to buy more dogs,” says Goyal.

PEDIGREE AND TEMPERAMENT

The squad comprises German Shepherds, Labradors, Retrievers, Doberman and Cocker Spaniels.

Two German Shepherds are deployed at Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s high-security residence at McLeodganj in Dharamshala.

“It takes six months to a year to train a dog. These breeds are preferred because of their tracking ability, short coat and adaptibility. Only pedigree dogs registered with the Kennel Club of India with a suitable temperament are selected,” says the dog trainer, requesting anonymity.

He says the dogs will get to stay in spacious, modern kennels at Junga.

The squad is headed by an inspector rank officer, while each dog is handled by a personnel of the rank of head constable or constable.

TRACK RECORD

German Shepherd Hero, who was imported from Ireland for 250 pounds, was the first member of the state’s dog squad in 1957.

It was due to the efforts of the then lieutenant governor of Himachal Pradesh (1955-63), Raja Bajrang Bahadur Singh Bhadri, that a dozen canines were recruited in the squad.

Interestingly, it’s been a tradition to name members in the squad after film characters. So the German Shepherd trained in sniffing out narcotics is Rambo, while another two-year-old Alsatian known for his tracking skills is Singham. It was Singham who tracked down the body of missing youth Kedar Singh in Solan district last year. Kedar was missing for more than a week. Another dog, Max, is credited with recovering 2.8 kg of charas in Kullu and has Krish, another sniffer, for company. They are all two to three years old.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 21:02 IST