A Garda search dog who has a long list of achievements including detecting a woman hiding in the attic of a cannabis grow house is set to retire after over a decade of service.
German Shepherd Laser and Cork-based Garda Patrick Harrington have been working together in Munster since the dog was five months old.
However, having endured an injury to a paw and given his advancing years, the 11-year-old is set to retire to live in comfort with the garda who has worked alongside him.
Laser has been involved in solving some significant crimes over the years. In May 2019 he found a woman who was hiding in a chimney space in the attic of a grow house in Co Clare where there was almost €1 million of cannabis plants being cultivated.
Laser showed no signs of slowing down and in early June of the same year he was involved in the location and subsequent arrest of a suspect following an attempted car jacking on the southside of Cork city.
A 25-year-old man had held a middle woman at knife point as he tried to take her car when she was stopped at traffic lights. He panicked when the lights changed and fled on foot heading down a nearby greenway. Unfortunately for the criminal, Laser was deployed and he brought gardaí to his hiding place.
In September of the same year Laser located a man suspected of taking part in a number of robberies in Rochestown in Cork. As gardaí were responding to reports, the suspect’s vehicle rammed a Garda patrol car. The vehicle was subsequently abandoned on the N40 and a search was carried out of Mahon Golf course where Laser located the burglar.
Garda Harrington said that Laser is also a big hit in primary schools he visits on his days off from pursuing criminals. He said the dog has made a huge difference to many people over the last 11 years.
“Laser arrived at five months old and we bonded straight away. He can be loud and boisterous at times but once he is on the job he is never distracted. He knows what he has to do and he does it.
“He is trained in general search and rescue and has helped to bring many missing people home to their families, although there are times too when the ending is not happy and he finds a body.
“But that helps to bring closure to the family of the deceased and gives them the chance to say goodbye,” he said.
Garda Harrington said that Laser can look forward to a gentler pace in his retirement. “He will chew bones, chase rabbits and play with tennis balls,” he said.