In Bogota, Columbia, fourteen police sniffing dogs are being honored at an emotional retirement ceremony. The dogs will be receiving medals and diplomas as they finish their stint of service as sniffing out drugs, bombs, and bodies for the Colombian Policia. Some of the dogs were given special scented baths before they were retired in the event that took place in an auditorium at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
There were several dog breeds in the retirement ceremony including German shepherds, pit bulls, and golden retrievers. Among the retirees was “Canela” a 12-year old Labrador that helped uncover 65 mass graves with victims of paramilitary violence. There is also “Negra”, a pit bull mix who helped detect tons of cocaine in her 8-year career.
The police dogs of Colombia re usually retired by the time they reach eight or nine years of age. In the past they were kept in kennels where they could be provided with food, play, and medical treatment after their retirement, but Colombia Police have been looking for homes with families to adopt the dogs.
Police dogs in Colombia also take part in dangerous missions, sniffing out landmines in coca fields and rescuing bodies in combat zones. Most of these dogs come from a canine school run by the police near Bogota. The school provides training for dogs and handlers from other Latin American countries. Officials plan to place the dogs up for adoption so they can live out the rest of their lives in peace with loving families. Some dogs are also allowed to be adopted by their former handlers.
“We’ve shared a lot of things together and they are like our children,” said David Maldonado, Negra’s handler.