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"He was only a pup." Anger over the shooting of a dog at Auckland airport.

Animal owners, lovers and activists across the world have come together, united in outrage over the shooting death of aviation security dog Grizz at Auckland Airport on Friday.

The 10-month-old puppy, who was just six months from graduating as a security dog, escaped from his trainer after he became “spooked”.

The Guardian reports airport staff tried for three hours in vain to find the wayward pup before calling in police at around 4am to eventually pull the trigger. 16 flights were delayed while staff tried to get Grizz under control.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Grizz was not on the tarmac but on the outer perimeter of the airfield.

Aviation Security Service (Avsec) spokesman Mike Richards told the paper the search for the pup was made more difficult by the fact it was dark at the time.

“When he was located he would not let anyone near him and kept sprinting across the runways.

“We tried everything, food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work,” he said, adding police assisting Avsec were instructed to shoot Grizz.

“Avsec and the handler and members of the Explosive Detector Dog Unit are naturally quite shaken but understand the reasons for the decision,” Richards said, saying they will conduct a review of the incident to see if this has any implications for ongoing training.

Social media users have blasted both police and airport security for pulling the trigger on the dog, questioning why they couldn’t have instead tasered the spooked pup.

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Despite this, Callum Irvine, ‎head of veterinary services at the New Zealand Veterinary Association, told the New Zealand Herald this weekend that tranquiliser wouldn’t have been plausible in this instance.

“It isn’t necessarily very easy to sedate an animal that’s on the run and in distress like that. In that situation you can actually make the problem worse because the animal becomes partially sedated. It isn’t always the perfect solution it might appear to be.”

*Feature image: Screenshot/1 News.

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