A missing dog trapped at cemetery force adjustment to police night duty hours

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: MONDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2014: The disappearance of a ‘dog’ caught by the Police Dog Management Unit (PDMU) team at 3am at the Magiagi cemetery last Thursday has influenced the Unit’s working hours of up to 10.00pm at night “when the (dog) traps are collected and the team returns to base,” said Fauono.

“They used to patrol areas where dog traps are planted at odd hours of the night until the morning,” said Fauono.

The incident referred to by Fauono involved a team that went to collect three traps from around the Magiagi cemetery at 3.00am in the morning.

“Three dogs were trapped inside the barred wired cages so they picked up the cages and put them in a secured vehicle,” said Fauono.

Another dog was circling around the spot where the traps were so the team captured him too.

With all four dogs secured in the cages, the team headed back to Apia, however, only three dogs were inside the vehicle when the team unloaded at base.

“These are heavily secured vehicles and it is impossible, especially when there was no broken window or forced lock which could explain how the missing dog escaped,” said Fauono.

The team could not explain the missing dog.

However, Fauono said that given the place and time of the incident, it is not difficult to think of superstitious ideas, although no one wants to believe those things.

“To protect the officers, we have to adjust their night duty work times,” said Fauono.

Prior to the Magiagi incident, there was a similar incident at Tafa’igata when the Unit received a call in the early hours of a dog scavenging near the rubbish dump.

A police officer shot the dog with a gun. The dog jumped up and took off as if nothing had happened.

“The dog was not even limping,” said Fauono.

These incidents, Fauono believes could mean anything, but given the Samoan belief in superstitious events in the past, the mind will always assume the worst in these odd hours of work.

He emphasized however that the PDMU responds to all calls whatever time of the day or night. The Unit was recently established to help control the stray dog problem through the licensing of dogs an owner has.