Kerala police commandos will soon have an “assault dog unit” to aid their ongoing anti-Maoist operations in north Kerala.

Six pure-bred Doberman Pinscher dogs, an exotic breed famed for its agility and aggressiveness, are currently being trained along with their human partners — commandos themselves — at the Kerala Police Academy in Thrissur.

Breed attributes

Senior forest veterinarian E.K. Easwaran, who is on deputation to the police, said the breed was selected for its tolerance to heat, physical endurance, lithe frame, and agility which rendered it suitable for sustained deployment alongside special forces in harsh and hostile environments.

State veterinarians visited several reputed kennels; inspected six to eight-month-old pups, evaluated their pedigree, and examined them under x-ray for physical deformities such as malformed pelvis, a sign of inbreeding, before choosing the six.

Each dog will have two handlers. Handler and dog will work as a pair, participate in simulated urban and jungle combat exercises alongside the “Thunderbolts Kerala” (to acclimatise the canines with the sound of live fire and combat manoeuvres) before being actively deployed with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team.

The police are likely to assign a pair of assault dogs and four handlers to each unit of the “Thunderbolts” garrisoned at strategic locations in Kerala, including Adoor in Kollam district.

In future anti-Maoist operations of the State Police Commandos of the India Reserve Battalion, the dogs will be tasked to sniff out landmines and booby traps and track intruders in remote terrains where armed insurgents are known to operate.

In urban combat situations, the dogs will spearhead tactical assault teams, be the first to enter rooms to shock and surprise armed terrorists, thus allowing the commandos close on their heels to seize the initiative in close quarter gun battles.

The police will equip the dogs with bullet proof vests, equipped with slots for placing cameras if required.

The State police have formed a committee, comprising government veterinarians, to purchase dogs for various law enforcement duties, including anti-sabotage checks.

State Police Chief K.S. Balasubramanian, IG Manoj Abraham, and SP P.A. Valsan are overseeing the programme.

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