Police drug dog Max had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on one of his legs, last year. But he continued to work solidly until experiencing pain.
Yesterday, his handler Detective Sergeant Vainenooroa Ngametua and the vets made the tough call to put him down – and police gathered to honour the brave dog.
The Police Service described him as a “hard-working team member”, as he was buried at National Police Headquarters.
Max arrived in Rarotonga in July 2015, aged four and already a working professional detecting drugs in a New Zealand prison. He served with Cook Islands Police for five years.
He was very much a part of Ngametua’s own family, who cared deeply for Max and now mourn the loss of a loved one.
Commissioner Maara Tetava said the dog often identified drug users entering the country –even if they possessed no drugs at the time.
“Max has an exemplary performance record and was an important asset, not just to the drug detection team and Police Service, but to the Cook Islands,”
The Police Service is in discussions with New Zealand Police over a replacement