Rest in peace Gazza: Star police dog shot and killed in police incident

Gazza. Photo / Supplied
Gazza. Photo / Supplied

The police dog killed in the Porirua today shooting is Gazza, a star of TVNZ show Dog Squad which follows working dogs and their handlers.

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Live updates: Porirua armed stand-off - police dog Gazza shot and killed, officer injured

Tributes for the fallen police dog have flooded in on social media.

Hundreds have expressed shock at the incident and their sympathies for the 4-year-old German shepherd's family.

Gazza was fatally shot today during an armed standoff in Porirua. His handler was constable Josh Robertson.

Gazza in late 2013 with his handler, Constable Josh Robertson. Photo / Supplied
Gazza in late 2013 with his handler, Constable Josh Robertson. Photo / Supplied

Shortly after the news was made public, New Zealand Police confirmed the dog was Gazza and wrote: ". Our thoughts are with his handler and his family."

Dog Training Centre national coordinator, Inspector Todd Southall, said Gazza and Mr Robertson had made an effective team in Wellington tracking, searching and catching offenders.

"Gazza was a four-year-old German Shepherd, bred at the Police Dog Training Centre at Trentham. He graduated as an operational dog in late 2013 with his handler, Constable Josh Robertson, and both have served Police bravely since that time," he said.

Dog Squad NZ posted: "Awful news today, Wellington Police dog Gazza was shot and killed at a Porirua address this morning. Our thoughts are with his handler Josh and the Delta section's around the country at this very sad time. RIP Gazza, you were a top dog, and a pleasure to work with!"

Members of the public also expressed their condolences.

One Facebook user wrote: "Such a sad event, you amazing dog."

Another person wrote: "What a beautiful dog just doing his job. No one has the right to hurt or kill any animal."

Meanwhile Feilding Community Patrol send its regards to Mr Robertson and his family.
"To all Delta Units especially Josh and his family. Our prayers go to you all."

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In April last year, Gazza was praised for the part he played in tracking and capturing a fleeing burglar.

The man led police on a 3km chase through the outskirts of Wellington after he was interrupted while trying to rob a superette.

Gazza traced his scent through properties and into the bush where police finally caught up with the offender, Fairfax reported.

Constable Robertson ordered the man to stop and when he didn't Gazza was set loose. The man was arrested after a tussle with the dog.

Gazza was left with a sore neck and twisted ears after he was choked by the man during the tussle but recovered from his injuries.

Mr Robertson said it was not the first time Gazza had been injured on the job but it had been the worst case, Fairfax reported.

The New Zealand Police have paid tribute to their fallen comrade.

In a post on social media they shared their sympathies with the dogs handler and family.

"We pay tribute to Police dog Gazza who was tragically shot today. Our thoughts are with his handler and his family."

- NZ Herald

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