Customs dog can smell your cash
Customs' newest sniffer dog Kane has scored his first "kill" at Christchurch Airport.
The spirited black labrador stepped up to the plate with an interception of cash on a passenger.
In this instance, the haul fell slightly short of $10,000 - just below the figure that needs to be declared.
Just two months into training, Kane is shaping up nicely to become fully operational in April.
His handler - Senior Customs officer Rob Gillanders - says the 14 months old bunch of fun is already showing strong potential.
"He has personality plus and is full of beans, which is to be expected from a young dog. This kind of energy is a quality that you look for in a detector."
He arrived two months ago from the Australian Customs breeding programme.
"He's an interesting one, this one. He's got a lot of personality. It's like a work colleague in some ways - some you get on with really well."
Once Kane has mastered cash detection he will be trained to sniff out drugs as well.
Things are a little less serious when Kane is at home. His energy keeps his family on their toes.
"He likes a good game or two, but if he gets bored he finds playful things to do, " Gillanders said.
This has included helping himself to the washing on the clothes line, grabbing shoes or kids' toys and anything else he can get his paws on.
Customs' dual-trained dogs have intercepted more than $1 million worth of undeclared or concealed cash in their first three months of operation at Auckland and Wellington airports.
They can detect cash amounts of more than $10,000 - targeting New Zealand, Australian and United States currencies.
The movement of large sums of cash has been linked to illicit activities and criminal networks.
Customs Minister Maurice Williamson is happy with the pooches' performance.
"Since August, these dogs have detected an amazing $1.09 million of cash at airports. A further $102,000 has been located through search warrant activity with police.
"So this added capability to sniff out undeclared or concealed money has hit criminals in the pocket and put them on notice, " he said.
It also sent a clear message to the public to declare cash amounts of more than $10,000.
It is Customs' role to ensure money crossing the border is legitimate and carried for legitimate purposes.
Undeclared or misdeclared money becomes a prohibited good under the Customs and Excise Act, risking seizure. Not declaring cash or providing false or misleading information is an offence under the Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.