Blue Cross dog uncovers drug smuggling plot31 Jul 2012
A Blue Cross rescue dog has foiled a drug smuggling attempt after uncovering a hidden stash of cannabis worth €319,000.
Ralph was only two weeks into his job as a sniffer dog at the Irish Revenue’s Customs Service when he helped to find 53kg of cannabis resin.
The car was getting off a ferry from France at Rosslare Europort when two-year-old Ralph indicated that he’d detected something and, when the vehicle was scanned with the Customs’ X-ray scanner, the drugs were found.
A Ukrainian national was arrested and taken to the police station following the discovery.
Ralph’s handler, Denny Lawlor, says: “When Ralph first made the indication we searched the car thoroughly but couldn’t find anything.
“But we trusted Ralph’s judgment so we got the high-tech scanner and found the drugs hidden away in a secret compartment in the boot area.
“Just a few days later he found a stash of cannabis hidden away in another car.”
Partners in crime
Denny, who has been working as a dog handler for 14 years, adds: “Ralph is a great partner to have on the job. What I like about him is that you can see him getting better and better all the time and he’s so enthusiastic.
“He is still only young and he’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s already the first dog in Ireland to be trained as both a cash and a drug detection dog.”
It’s an amazing achievement for a dog who, just a few months before, had been found living on the streets as a stray and brought to Blue Cross.
He was in a bit of a state when he arrived at our Bromsgrove rehoming centre and was very skinny.
We gave him a full veterinary check-up and a behavioural assessment so that we could find out more about him in order to find him the right kind of home.
Neil Edwards, Bromsgrove centre manager, says: “Ralph is an English springer spaniel and this breed has a high drive to keep busy. Plus Ralph needed to use his amazing sense of smell all the time.
“This meant he needed a lot of mental stimulation and exercise in a new home to avoid him becoming frustrated. Blue Cross often finds working homes for dogs like Ralph and so we decided to see if we could find him a new role as a sniffer dog.”
We contacted Wagtail UK Ltd, a company that trains and provides specialist detection dogs for UK and international operations.
They have taken on three other Blue Cross dogs that have gone on to have successful careers and Ralph soon proved to be a star pupil.
Born for the job
Rhi Atkin, dog handler at Wagtail UK says: “Ralph was at Wagtail for less than two months before he was ready for his new job – he was simply born to do it.
“He’s one of those dogs you don’t often see. Within just a few weeks he picked everything up, he’s a very clever boy.”
Partners Ralph and Denny will continue to work together to fight crime on the Irish borders, so drug smugglers better watch out.
Neil, from our Bromsgrove centre, adds: “We are so happy that he is thriving in his new role and using his natural ability to help solve crimes. We wish him all the best for the future and hope he continues to enjoy his happy new life.”
Would you like to give a Blue Cross pet a happy home? Visit our animals available for rehoming today.