Sniffer dogs in border province challenge int’l drug traffickers
HATAY – Anadolu Agency
Four sniffer dogs recruited by the police department in the southern province of Hatay, which shares a long border and two border gates with Syria, have seized tons of drugs and are giving hard times to traffickers, according to their trainers.
The four dogs – Dante, Akrep, Rüzgar and Ares – can understand some 150 instructions to serve inside cities, towns and border gates to find illegal substances such as cannabis and drug pills.
They are particularly effective in finding stashes hidden in difficult spots like gas tanks.
Ömer Faruk Uzun, an officer who has trained the dog Dante for six years, has spent 16 years of his 27-year career in this specific field.
Uzun told Anadolu Agency that a friend introduced him to Dante, now an experienced sniffer dog, in 2012, when it was only two months old in the northwestern province of Balıkesir.
“I raised it as a task dog. We are together around eight hours a day. We used to be on duty together in Balıkesir and Diyarbakır. Now we are in Hatay, where we have had very successful catches.”
The officer said they have seized 60 tons of drugs in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, in addition to the 5 tons in Hatay.
“Recently, we found around 1 ton of drugs at the Cilvegözü border gate,” Uzun said.
Officer Sadık Ayürek met Akrep, a Belgian shepherd dog, when it was a puppy and they have been working together for eight years.
“Akrep, its team mates and I will not let drugs pass through the border,” he said.
The dog Akrep has helped the police seize some 6 tons of drugs so far.
Puppy training depends on the dogs’ instinct of playing games, before obedience trainings begin when they are five of six months old.
Mehmet Tekin, trainer of Rüzgar, is rather less experienced in the field, but says he loves the job.
“You have to coalesce with the dog. It is a tiring, but also a very exciting process,” he said, adding that the dogs turn into family members after some time.
He takes Rüzgar out with him on the weekends when he is off duty.
Uğur Şimşek, a police officer for 20 years, has been training dogs for 17 years.
Ares, his fourth company, has only served as a task dog for a month.
“It has had a very successful start,” he said, raising hopes on his new partner in anti-drug missions.