Jet, Bishen, Heena and Badal are dog-tired, but they can expect to get new colleagues to share their work pressure.
The police headquarters has requested the government to purchase 188 puppies in phases to strengthen its dog squad and reduce the burden of Jet and his peers like Hendy, who has already lost his eyesight and become redundant for the force.
These Labradors have been with the police for about seven years and are on the verge of retirement. Keeping their old age and the increasing workload in mind, the police headquarters wants to strengthen its canine squad.
“The average age of a dog is 10-12 years. But each of them is considered fit for the job till the age of 10, sometimes even less. Under such circumstances, several members of the canine squad will be of no use for the state police force soon,” said an officer, looking after the squad.
Director-general of police Abhayanand said: “The plan is to deploy four dogs in 37 districts of the state. For Patna, we want to have nine dogs. There is an urgent need to buy more puppies to meet the requirement.”
Besides, there is a proposal to set up an exclusive centre to keep the dogs. The centre would be later developed as a training school for the dog handlers. Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation has been assigned to complete the construction work of the proposed centre.
Sources in the police headquarters said the sanctioned strength of the state dog squad is 33. But the current strength is only 16 — six sniffer and mines dogs and four trackers. Sniffer dogs are expert in detecting explosives over the ground, while mines dogs can spot explosives hidden underground. Tracker dogs are pressed into service to detect incidents of crime. “The dog squad is facing an acute shortage of tracker dogs,” said Om Prakash Srivastava, the in-charge of the dog squad.
According to officials of the Criminal Investigation Department, which looks after the dog squad, three puppies were purchased in 2008 from National Training Centre for Dogs, Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh. Before that, an official said, 18 dogs were bought in 2005-06. However, two of them died later.