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Economy

Police dogs auction in Nairobi suspended over coronavirus

Kenya Police, Dog Section Unit, march past Presidential dais during a past Mashujaa Day celebrations at Uhuru Park
Kenya Police, Dog Section Unit, march past Presidential dais during a past Mashujaa Day celebrations at Uhuru Park. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The National Police Service Tuesday postponed indefinitely the auction of 18 guard and sniffer dogs after the bidding site was jammed with people amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Prospective buyers from Nairobi and neighbouring areas, some with high-end cars, had trooped to the Kenya Police Dog Unit facility in Lang’ata to buy the highly trained canines.

Excited by the rigorous training that the dogs are normally subjected to, pet lovers who were hoping to go home with a companion were advised to wait for a new advertisement that will be put out once Covid-19 is under control.

Police officers manning the main entrance to the Lang’ata K-9 headquarters told the prospective buyers that a new date would be communicated and apologised for the inconvenience.

The dogs were to be sold in an auction conducted by Taifa Auctioneers. The breeds that had been put on sale include a Rottweiler whose starting price was Sh7,000, six English Spaniel dogs with a reserve price starting at Sh5,000, four Boerboel dogs with a reserve price of Sh9,000, four Labradors at between Sh5,000 to Sh10,000 and four German Shepherds at between Sh5,000 to Sh8,000. The canines are normally used for crowd control, patrol, tracking drugs and firearms and detecting explosives. Some are also trained to help in complex rescue missions.

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The German Shepherds and Rottweilers are useful in crowd control, tracking and protection services. The former joined the service in the 1950s while the latter were introduced in 2004.

English Spaniels, introduced in 2006, are trained to detect explosives and narcotics. They are used to add a layer of protection at airports, ports and VIP functions.

Several events have been postponed or held with small gatherings due to strict guidelines by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

As at yesterday, Kenya had reported 184 coronavirus cases after Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced 14 new cases. Since the first case was announced on March 12, six patients have succumbed to Covid-19 while seven have recovered. Globally, it has killed at least 76,383 people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019. At least 1,363,123 infections and 293,833 recoveries have been reported.

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