The Federal Police held a retirement ceremony yesterday for 14 of its members who had faithfully served the nation for nine years. While that might seem like a short career span in this case it was not: all 14 are dogs.
The German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever and Belgian Malinois Shepherd breeds were employed sniffing out concealed drugs, stashes of cash or explosives and some in search and rescue, such as those operations in central and southeastern Mexico in the aftermath of the September 7 and 19 earthquakes.
The chief of the Federal Police said during the ceremony that it was time for the dogs to live in a family environment.
“The canine elements that retire today served the country faithfully became our companions in the fight against crime and tirelessly performed search and rescue operations,” said Manelich Castilla Craviotto.
In the past it was customary for the force to put retired dogs to sleep once their service time was over, but no longer.
“The Federal Police is a pioneer at the national level for opting to retire and give up for adoption its canine members as a form of retirement, eradicating the old practice of putting them to sleep,” Castilla explained.
The force’s dogs are assigned a handler for the full duration of their service, and strong bonds are often forged between the dog and its master.
Such was the case with Mamu and officer Fernández, who had been together for six years and became inseparable companions.
Fernández told the ceremony of the time he broke into tears after receiving news of the passing of a relative. Mamu approached the officer, nuzzled him and shared his grief.
Fernández offered his thanks to Mamu “for being with me during hard times.”
He is not sure he’ll be able to keep Mamu after the dog’s retirement, but he intends to try to keep his friend at home.
The Federal Police currently has 151 dogs trained in identifying narcotics and so far this year they have collaborated in the seizure of three tonnes of marijuana and over 40 kilograms of cocaine.
Nineteen more dogs specialize in search and rescue operations, while six more are currently being trained.
The dogs’ retirement and subsequent adoption process is handled by the Mexican Canine Federation, a representative of which highlighted the force’s sensitivity in its treatment of the animals.
César Miguel Delgado Contreras also donated a Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican hairless dog, to the police force. The Xolo, as the breed is also known, is the first of its kind to join the canine unit.
Source: El Universal (sp)