Australian Top Sniffer Dog Rookie Dies, Left in Department Car for Five Days

 |  Sep 26th 2007  |   12 Contributions


How stupid or cruel do you have to be to leave a dog in a car for five days? How terrible for Rookie and his person!

Thanks to the Herald Sun for this article.

Prison sniffer dog 'left to die horribly'
By Kelvin Bissett

September 18, 2007

ROOKIE the sniffer dog did not deserve to die in such a miserable, agonising way.

The 11-year-old border collie had been the undisputed top dog in the 50-strong NSW Corrective Services Department's dog drug detection unit.

But some time between March 22 and March 26, 2007, Rookie died from dehydration and heatstroke in circumstances that have generated uproar in the department.

Rookie was left locked in a department station wagon for five days in a car park at the John Moroney Correctional Centre near Windsor.


The early autumn weather had been sizzling - 30C outside and hotter in the vehicle - and RSPCA sources believe Rookie may not have survived the first day.

In Windsor Local Court, Corrective Services officer Joshua Peterson, 41, of Woongarrah, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to exercise reasonable care and aggravated cruelty.

The RSPCA accuses Peterson of "leaving the dog locked in a station wagon for five days and not ensuring the animal was provided with proper and sufficient water, causing the dog to suffer from heat stroke and dehydration," court documents state.

Magistrate Glenn Bartley, who has already heard evidence from witnesses, is expected to hand down a decision on the matter on the next hearing date, set down for December 18.

The aggravated cruelty charge carries a maximum fine of $25,000 and two years in jail.

Only days after Rookie's death, Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham awarded the dog an Exemplary Conduct Cross.

The grim circumstances of Rookie's death are referred to obliquely in the Corrective Services Department's internal Bulletin magazine - described as a "tragic accident".

His handler Ellen Forsythe, who was on holiday in Adelaide at the time of Rookie's death, told colleagues of how the super sniffer dog "touched" people's lives.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.

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