Boots: K9 matriarch smokes out drug dealers

Boots the matriach of police K9 unit. PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Boots the matriach of police K9 unit. PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

The most famous cop at the moment is a dog – a black Labrador Retriever from Botswana Police Service’s K9 unit named Boots. Boots is the star of the highly successful Drug Clean Up Operation undertaken by the police.

Boots has become an overnight sensation, thanks in large part to the Btv reporters embedded in the operation’s drug busts that have captivated viewers of the late news.

Every night viewers across the country sit transfixed to Btv news, as security agents nab drug dealers with the help of the ‘queen’, Boots.

Ever since social media learnt of the dog’s name, Boots has been praised for her bravery, intelligence, precision and sterling job in sniffing drugs out.  Through social media, the people want Boots to be handsomely rewarded. 

“Give it a yellow bone,” one Facebook user punned on the dog. Others recommended that she be given a fitting vacation and be spoilt with a full body ‘dog massage’ at some upmarket spar resort after she is done with the drug dealers.

Many others called for an Isaac Makwala-esque national holiday, saying there should be Boots’ Day so that Batswana can all give tribute to this dog for cleaning our streets of these damaging drugs.

Getting a hold of Boots is a tricky affair as she is always up and down in raids at similar operations, but this week, the Mmegi team finally met up with her at the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters.

We learnt that Boots is actually not a Makwala (running the track alone) on these amazing drug detection operations.

The police, buoyed after their P1.8 million dagga bust, were eager to let the media meet the K9 unit that has been headlined by one dog even though in actual fact, the raids are the work of a pack of dogs.

Crime Intelligence director, Senior Assistant Commissioner Nunu Lesetedi revealed that Boots is actually the matriarch of the pack working with her offspring, which currently numbers 11 in total.

“Boots is seven-years-old, born in South Africa, but trained in Botswana. Boots is an excellent working and breeding dog that has produced excellent dogs for the K9 unit,” Lesetedi said.

Boots is a drug detention expert and currently working with her three sons named, Blake, Brokie and Cater as well as her daughter, Faith. All her offsprings are black Labradors except for Blake, which is yellow or fox-red. All of Boots’ offsprings are fathered by Billy, who is also a black Labrador Retriever.  Her police handlers jokingly shared that Boots never cheated on Billy, which is rather uncommon for dogs. Billy is, however, an explosive detection dog and so he could not be with his family and pack on the drug busts.

When the police took out Boots and her pack for a photo opportunity from their mobile kennel, the dogs were typical true Labradors in behaviour. Labrador Retrievers are usually very intelligent, gentle, and friendly dogs. They are not as vicious as other guard dogs like the Rottweiler, American Pit Bull Terrier and the German Shepherd. 

Labradors are said to be some of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United Kingdom and the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Dog Registration Statistics. The Labrador, is also worth noting, has been winning the AKC Top Breed Award for 26 years in a row, making it reign as America’s Dog. The AKC said in a report in March this year, “The Lab’s eager to please temperament is just one of many reasons why this ideal family dog takes top honours year after year. They also excel at dog sports and make fantastic K9 partners”.

And that is why Botswana police have decided to enlist the Labradors for their drug unit. The police say Boots and her offspring are excellent drug detection dogs that work with a wide variety of drugs. Lesetedi told Mmegi that the dogs can detect dagga as well as other hard drugs including heroin, mandrax, cocaine, crack, cat and ecstasy.

With over 75 reported arrests and major drug busts uncovering millions worth of drugs, the police have been doing a sterling job on the war on drugs and Boots and her K9 pack surely deserve ‘yellow bones’ for their contribution.

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