Marayoor: A dog that had been specially trained to prevent sandalwood theft in Marayoor is dead. The 11-year-old Dingo (Kichu), a Labrador, died around 9.30am on Tuesday. It was buried with official honours at the premises of the Nachivayal dog squad in Idukki.
After sandalwood theft became rampant, the dog was 'deployed on duty' at Marayoor in 2010, as per the government's directive. It was taken to Marayoor after one year of training at the Thrissur Police Academy to detect sandalwood specifically.
The dog had helped the Forest Department to track down the stolen sandalwood in several cases. As it won the affection of the officials, it got the pet name Kichu. The dog had helped to crack 34 cases. It had been able to pick up the scent of stolen sandalwood logs and track these down several kilometres away. It showed its expertise at the Marayoor-Kanthaloor range and Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, and also during vehicle inspections.
The dog could find hidden chambers in vehicles as well.
The Pulikaravayal case that had over 20 accused, sandalwood seizure from Chinnar and Pius Nagar check-posts, and finding the hide-out of the sandalwood smugglers near Kanthaloor are some of the instances when Kichu proved its mettle.
Kichu had served the Forest Department at Marayoor for nine years. Another dog Pelvin was trained before the service of Kichu got over. Pelvin has been helping in detecting sandalwood thefts at Marayoor for the past four years.