Security staff at Auckland International Airport say they tried everything they could to retrieve a detector dog who caused havoc this morning, before deciding to shoot it dead.
Grizz was being trained by the government Aviation Security Service (Avsec) to detect explosives.
Sixteen domestic and worldwide flights were delayed as airport ground staff attempted to catch Grizz after he broke away from his handler about 4am.
Sixteen domestic and worldwide flights were delayed for safety reasons on Friday morning while the canine was on the loose for three hours in the airfield.
Police Inspector Tracy Phillips said the police's actions were a last resort.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the dog escaped from his handler at around 4:30 a.m., but the airport was dark and too large to quickly contain the puppy.
'This is not an outcome which anyone wanted, ' New Zealand Police said.
At that point a gate connected to airside, or security area, had been opened to let a truck through.
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Authorities eventually shot the dog to death after flights were delayed as the pup sprinted around runaways.
Grizz was a 10-month-old bearded collie/German short-haired pointer cross on an initial airport environment socialisation programme as part of his training before undertaking block courses and assessments including the critical task of identifying explosives. "In these hard circumstances the Airport's Emergency Operations Center team chose to have the dog destroyed", the unidentified spokesman said in a statement. "The dog was not on the tarmac at the time".
Grizz ran off from his handler at Auckland International Airport this morning, and airport staff told police to shoot it after it could not be restrained, New Zealand Herald reports.
"Avsec will undertake a review of the incident to try and ascertain what spooked the dog, and if this has any implications for ongoing training", he said.
Another tweeted: "I am so angry that auckland airport and the police shot grizz dead. he was just a puppy #shameonyou #ripgrizz".
Hans Kriek, director of Save Animals from Exploitation, told News.com.au: "A tranquilliser gun should have been used after efforts to catch the dog failed".
Asked why the dog was not tranquillised, a spokeswoman responded: "I do not have the answer to that. So we don't understand why they didn't do that", he said.
Ms Midgen said her thoughts were with aviation security staff as they had lost an important team member.