From Batang Kali to Turkiye, Fire Dept's K9 unit 'tip-top' now in Jeram Air Putih

05 Jul 2023 12:17pm
Four rescue dogs from the K9 Unit - Blake, Lady, Grouse and Pop awarded the Golden Performance medal on Jan 9 2023 at Putrajaya - FILE PIX by Bernama
Four rescue dogs from the K9 Unit - Blake, Lady, Grouse and Pop awarded the Golden Performance medal on Jan 9 2023 at Putrajaya - FILE PIX by Bernama

CHUKAI - Four dogs from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department's (JBPM) K9 Tracker Dog Unit namely Frankie, Denti, Grouse and Lady are back in action in the search and rescue (SAR) operation for the victims of the water surge tragedy at Jeram Air Putih here.

The unit's head, Lacey Elizabeth Stanley said all four dogs belonging to the department showed a proud performance during the two days of their involvement in the operation.

"Tip-top... Ten out of ten," she said briefly when asked about the cute heroes' performance.

Also participating in this operation is Sarkar from the K9 Unit of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) based in Bukit Aman in the federal capital.

No stranger to Malaysians, these five agile heroes once captured the hearts of the public when they were involved in the SAR operation of the landslide tragedy at the Father's Organic Farm campsite, Batang Kali, Selangor, in December last year in which 31 people lost their lives.

A few months after that, Denti and Frenkie, who have been in service for six years, were then flown to Turkiye for 14 days to help with the special SAR operation in the aftermath of the eartquake disaster in the republic in early February that claimed approximately 50,000 lives.

Equipped with comprehensive and continuous training with their respective handlers, Lacey was clearly satisfied with the 'performance' shown by each of the dogs in this mission.

However, Lacey said it was the responsibility of the handlers to be sensitive to the condition of the animals, especially from their health aspects, even though the four K9 dogs had not shown any signs of burn out while involved in the operation to locate the 10 missing victims.

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"Throughout the operation we have to always look at their condition. The handlers can't go all out like other teams because when working with these dogs, our work and rest time follow their (dogs) time.

"If any signs of fatigue are seen in these dogs, the handlers must immediately rest them from any work or task," she said.

Meanwhile, Sarkar's handler, Lance Corporall Jonvi Moris said he had to always be sensitive to the health condition of his German Shepherd, which he described as hyperactive.

He said that after four years of handling Sarkar, he could 'read' the aggressiveness of the five-year-old when in action.

"Sarkar is very hyperactive. You can say that as long as he hasn't fainted, he will force himself to work and continue working even if he starts showing signs of fatigue. That's actually not good for his health, especially since he has previously been prone to heat stroke.

"So, when his tongue hangs out longer and longer, his saliva starts foaming a lot and his walking is not very good, I will immediately rest him. Otherwise, he will continue to work," he said.

Although it has not found any victims' bodies, Sarkar, who was assigned to make detections on the banks of the river in Sectors A and B (of the search area), still plays an important role as a facilitator in the SAR operation.

"As the handler, I can say that every indicator that Sarkar gives is very accurate and helpful in this search," he said, adding that another K9 dog from the Pahang Contingent Police Headquarters will also be joining the SAR operation.

Entering the fourth day of the SAR operation, two of the 10 victims of the water surge tragedy in Jeram Air Putih have yet to be found. - BERNAMA

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