In order to control African Swine Fever (ASF), specially trained dogs are now providing assistance in Brandenburg. Scavenging dogs are supposed to track down dead wild boar – potential carriers of plague – so that they can be disposed of properly and the plague does not spread further.
Read also: Teltow-Fläming prepares for African swine fever
In the Schünow district of Zossen, testing of these police dogs has now been carried out. Nine participants attended to showcase their dogs’ skills. The test consists of three basic components: First, the dogs have to find a specific object within 30 minutes in a free search in a designated plot of forest.
Dogs have to pass three exams in Schünow
When the dog discovers the object, it must then return to its master and urge him by her behavior to follow it until the object is reached. Alternatively, the dog can also signal its discovery by barking loudly or bring in what is called a fetch signal, i.e. indicating to the dog handler that it has been found by bringing in something previously trained. The dog must not bite the search object. After all, he must also stay away from dead wild boars later on.
The third hurdle for dogs searching for potential carcass is testing at the wild boar gate. Here the dog must behave relatively neutrally towards the live wild boar and be available at any time to reduce the risk to himself and the dog handler in real research in the future. “Never should we forget that dogs are the family members who should go home safely,” André Thieme, a judge at the Hunting Dogs Association emphasized. Together with Diana Holland of the State Office of Occupational Safety, Consumer Protection and Health in Brandenburg, he assessed the skills of the four examinees.
African swine fever is harmless to dogs
African swine fever is harmless to dogs and humans. However, plague can be transmitted from wild boars to domestic pigs – and infected animals die from the disease. The sooner a dead wild boar is found, the less likely it is for other boars to develop ASF. Trained dogs are supposed to help find bodies.
2,480 confirmed cases of ASF in Brandenburg
There are currently approximately 2,480 confirmed cases of African swine fever in the state of Brandenburg – but none have been found in the Tilto-Flaming region. However, official vet Silke Neuling said during the checkup: “Good preparation is everything and the end of it all.” She sees the area in good overall shape. Among other things, he carried out carcass collection points throughout the region and, in cooperation with the “guards”, conducted a search for fallen game over a period of several weeks. “This means that we are also aware of sites that are in impassable terrain,” Newling says. “Training carcass dogs is another measure.”
According to hunters and canine handlers, 70 percent of wild boar carcasses found with ASF are attributed to so-called hunting dog teams. This once again illustrates the great importance of these animals in helping to contain ASF, according to the Brandenburg State Hunting Association. Its president, Dirk-Heiner Willerschoff, openly thanked the test participants for their commitment and commitment. Unfortunately, not all dogs passed the test.
By Lisa Neugebauer