Big shift: Police dog collars six in one night

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff.co.nz

Senior Constable Ben O'Connor and Police dog Ox had an unforgettable Saturday night while on patrol. The pair nabbed half a dozen crooks in a single shift in and around Wellington.

police dog
ROBERT KITCHIN/ Fairfax NZ
TEAM PURSUIT: Ox and Detective Senior Constable Ben O’Connor collared six suspects in one action-packed night that included following the scent of spilt coffee, and hurdling fences.

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Talk about the constitution of an ox - in just one night Senior Constable Ben O'Connor and his dog Ox caught six suspects in a series of fence-jumping, thief-chasing pursuits around Wellington.

A whiff of caffeine might have helped in what was to be an action-packed night. It started when a car was reported stolen from Petone about 2am on Sunday.

O'Connor and 4-year-old Ox hit the road and tailed the car to Dixon St in Wellington. The suspect fled the car, dropping his coffee, leaving a scent for Ox and some "really clear, wet footprints". They tracked the man to an apartment - where he claimed to have been sleeping all along - and arrested him.

About 3.30am they were called to Wainuiomata to reports of a man wielding a baseball bat. He and the man he was fighting fled in opposite directions, but Ox detected a scent, leading his handler as they hurdled backyard fences.

After an hour-long, four-kilometre chase, a man was arrested at his home.

By dawn, O'Connor and Ox - who won the top patrol dog team in this year's patrol and detector dog championships - were ready to head home.

But about 6.30am reports came in of a car crashed into a power pole in Block Rd, Lower Hutt. When police arrived, the crashed car was empty, and so was another nearby.

But on his way there, O'Connor had spotted some possible suspects, so he doubled back. Ox led him over the Melling bridge to four people hiding by the Hutt River.

At 8am, dog and handler finished their shift. "Ox got a nice big breakfast and I went to bed."

But when he woke up, he went straight off for a 7km run. "Got a fitness test coming up. You've got to be fit for this job."

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- The Dominion Post

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