Northland police are looking for a new recruit with a nose for crime and enjoys tracking people trying to escape the long arm of the law.
Whangarei-based Constable Dan Lenihan joined the dog-handling ranks late last year but since then has struggled to find a canine colleague.
He has tried out six dogs - none of which have been suitable for a career in crimefighting. Now the trainee dog handler is appealing to members of the public who think they may have a German Shepherd that would fit the bill.
Mr Lenihan, with almost six years on the thin blue line, said the dogs he had trialled had failed for a number of reasons including being afraid of loud noises in the dark, not showing enough enthusiasm, being too small and having temperament problems.
He said ideally the male dog should be no more than 2 years old and enjoy retrieving.
Mr Lenihan has also fostered two puppies - one of which has gone on to become a working police dog in Northland.
But he still wants his own. His search for a suitable recruit has included the pound, SPCA, Auckland, the police dog breeding centre and even a dog he found on Trade Me.
While the standard to be accepted as a police dog was high and the training rigorous, police dogs were well looked after and got the best of everything, he said.
Northland police dog unit leader Senior Constable Phil Kahotea said police dogs were an integral part of the force and dogs had been on the Northland crime fighting team since 1964. Today there are four police dogs and their handlers in Northland.
Mr Kahotea said there was a police dog shortage even though there was a breeding unit based in Trentham. There were puppies, but none that would be ready to start training until later in the year. Police were looking for confident, happy dogs, that were happy around people, he said.
A real success story for a Northland dog facing death row is that of Archie. The 5-year-old pure-bred shepherd, with handler Senior Constable Ross Clarke, claimed the national Narcotic Detector Championship title.
Archie developed a taste for lamb while on a lifestyle block in Glenbervie. His owners contacted police and Archie proved a great police dog.
Anyone who thinks they could have a potential canine recruit should contact Mr Kahotea or Mr Lenihan at the Whangarei Police Dog Unit on 09 430 4500.