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Durban - A call made by metro police logistics head Innocent Chamane to destroy police dogs and horses that are no longer able to work has been dismissed by city officials.
eThekwini municipality spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said: “According to current metro police standing orders and metro police tariffs passed by council, at the end of a dog’s operational life, it may be taken over by the handler in order for the dog to retire in the hands of someone with whom it is emotionally connected. The status quo remains until it is reviewed by city management and passed by council.”
Chamane made the call in an e-mail last month, dogs should be viewed as assets and destroyed when they were no longer able to work.
Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi referred all questions to the city’s spokesman.
An officer, who is not authorised to speak to the media, said that over the years officers formed a strong bond with the dogs they worked with.
“I have worked with these dogs for 18 years. I am very close to them and love them very much. I do not understand why they would want to put them down because members buy them,” he said.
The officer also said he was totally against putting the dogs down and would make sure he could adopt a dog when it became available.
The metro police dog unit has 28 dogs.
An officer in the mounted unit said horses that were sick or old were sent to retirement farms where they were taken care of. The unit uses Friesian horses.
“We have 14 horses at the moment. Three are ready to retire and they will be going to farms to relax,” she said.
“I have worked with the horses for about 12 years now. They all have different personalities and we look after them like they are our children because we work so closely with them, they are a very important part of our work,” she said.
She and her colleagues were shocked by Chamane’s call to destroy animals that were no longer of any use to the force.
“Maybe some people might see them as assets that can be destroyed or sold off, but we do not view them as such.”
“I am very happy that they will not be putting down the animals… I just hope they do not change their minds again.”