Super sniffer Vespa recognised with service award

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detector dog service award

A Sydney-based detector dog from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry kennel was named one of the country’s top service animals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on Monday (1 April).

Six-year-old black labrador retriever Vespa was honoured with The Australasian Animal Registry Service Dog Award for intercepting 1300 biosecurity risk items across 129 commodities in 2023, the most of any biosecurity detector dog in the country.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Secretary Adam Fennessy PSM congratulated Vespa’s handler, Perrie, on receiving the award at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s Canine Hero Awards at the 2024 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

“Congratulations to both Perrie and Vespa on being recognised for their very important work at Sydney’s International Airport and mail centre,” Secretary Fennessy said.

“It takes a special type of person to train and work with our detector dogs, and Perrie and Vespa have displayed exemplary dedication to keeping Australia free from exotic pests and diseases.

“The 2024 Service Dog Award is also a wonderful acknowledgement of the dedication of our biosecurity detector dog teams and the role they play in protecting Australia’s unique biosecurity status.

“Vespa’s results show why detector dogs are highly regarded as a detection tool, and this year she sniffed out finds like beef burgers and smaller items, such as seeds.”

In the 2022-23 budget, the Australian Government committed $11.7 million to bolster Australia’s biosecurity detector dog capability and strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system by providing 20 additional detector dogs and 20 additional detector dog handlers. 

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