Amy Oatridge is one of three new biosecurity detector dog handlers who with her beagle Ollie will be sniffing out exotic pests and diseases.
The Whitford resident will start patrolling Auckland International Airport, the port and mail centre this month.
The new recruits bring the number of detector dog teams in the city to 27 and frees up a team to go regularly to the Port of Tauranga.
The three handlers and their dogs graduated at a ceremony in Auckland on November 26, along with 36 other new biosecurity frontline staff.
One of the new staff is quarantine inspector Finnerty Lambermon, who grew up in Beachlands.
She says the training for her new job was challenging. "It's great to see how it all comes together."
Ministry for Primary Industries' Steve Gilbert says the new staff will help meet the demands of the summer peak season.
Detector dog teams are useful for detecting biosecurity risks when used with other checks.
"No tool is sufficient to manage biosecurity by itself," he says.
"Dogs are good at picking up seeds and plants that can be hard to detect by X-ray. They also screen people faster than X-ray, and their visual presence is a significant factor."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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