Kerala police dog Dona to be honoured for Pettimudi landslide rescue efforts

Dona and another police dog Maya garnered media attention for their rescue efforts in the Pettimudi landslide in August.
Keraladog squad Dona
Keraladog squad Dona
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Pettimudi in Kerala’s Idukki district witnessed a devastating landslide on August 6, which claimed the lives of 62 people. In the wake of the destruction, Idukki police deployed a valuable resource to help in their rescue efforts — the dog squad. To honour their efforts, the Kerala government will confer Dona, a Labrador retriever from the Idukki police dog squad, with a gold medal for her rescue efforts during the landslide.

Dona, who was bought from the Punjab police, is specially trained to find people trapped under debris. In August, she worked for five hours at a time without any breaks, which earned her the credit of being the first Idukki police dog to receive this official honour. There are seven dogs in the Idukki police dog squad.

Maya, a Belgian Malinois, is the Kerala police’s first cadaver search dog. Though she was only 10 months old at the time of the landslide, she found the bodies of three people buried under debris. Maya, along with Dona, garnered attention on the news for their rescue efforts in August. A 35-member dog squad was sent to Pettimudi to aid with the rescue operations, on the direction of the Director-General of Police, Loknath Behera.

There are more than 150 dogs in the Kerala police dog squad. Karuppasamy R, the District Chief of Police of Idukki, appreciated the police team who trained the dogs.

Dolly, a beagle, recently underwent training similar to that of Dona’s. This is the first time in the state that a beagle is being trained by the police.

Police dogs are trained for conducting searches in different terrains, including forests. They are also trained for sniffing explosives, catching thieves and finding culprits in murder cases. Eight among the police dog squad are specially trained for sniffing out various drugs. There are about 20 dogs in retirement at the Kerala police academy.

Kerala police also use the services of this squad for recovering stolen objects, tracking criminals, patrolling and VIP and VVIP security. The police dog squad was first introduced in the state in 1959.

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