Injured top police dog retires

16:00, Feb 17 2014
FORMIDABLE TEAM: Saegar and his Nelson handler Constable Julian Lewis.

A top police dog has been forced into early retirement after a young Blenheim man tried to strangle him and cut his throat.

Saegar, an 8-year-old german shepherd, was assaulted by two youths in Blenheim last September.

Police were called to a house after a youth, 18, began shooting at a target on a corrugated iron fence. The youth grabbed Saegar around the neck, choked and kicked him, then tried to cut his throat with a pruning saw. The dog was eventually freed but not before lasting damage had been done.

The decision to retire him was made this month after he failed a test to prove he was up to standard. He still had at least one more year before he was due for retirement.

In 2012, Saegar was New Zealand's top police dog after he and dog handler Julian Lewis cleaned up at the National Police Dog Championships.

The pair won all but one of the trophies in the patrol dog section, and the overall Frank Riley Cup for national champion.

Lewis, who is now a sergeant in Kaikoura, was paired with 10-month-old Saegar in November 2006. He trained the pup and took him into his home until he left Nelson for Kaikoura in 2012.

It was hard to make the decision to give up dog handling because Saegar had become part of his family, he said.

Saegar will still be used for breeding. He has sired about 38 pups and another 32 have been bred from his progeny. Fairfax NZ


The Press