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Hungary’s military finds mission in life for battered dog

BUDAPEST – The Hungarian military has found a new life purpose for a talented dog rescued from abusive owners and recruited 2-year-old Logan to serve in counter-terrorism operations for an elite bomb squad.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog undergoes intensive training as an explosives detection dog for the Ordnance Disposal and Warships Regiment of the Hungarian Armed Forces.

At the unit’s garrison on the Danube in the capital, Budapest, Logan receives daily socialization and obedience drills and is trained to recognize the smell of 25 different explosive substances.

“He’s already started learning how to smell explosives in a completely homogeneous environment, and he’s also started learning how to search motor vehicles and ships,” said Logan’s trainer, Sgt. 1st Class Balazs Nemeth.

Logan’s new role as a bomb sniffer came after an early life of hardship. In 2021, animal welfare officials received a tip that a dog was being mistreated and kept in inhumane conditions at a country estate in north-eastern Hungary. During an on-site inspection, officers found Logan bound to a three-foot chain and malnourished.

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A few weeks later, Nemeth, the regiment’s training officer, visited the shelter where Logan was being held and began assessing his suitability as a professional bomb sniffer.

“When we met him, first impressions were very positive. We saw a motivated dog in relatively good condition and we had immediate confidence in him,” said Nemeth.

At a demonstration at the unit’s garrison, Nemeth opened a suitcase containing two dozen vials of dummy explosives including C-4, TNT, ammonium nitrate, and others that Logan is trained to detect.

After hiding a small packet of explosives in a hidden crevice on one of the regiment’s riverboats, Nemeth took Logan to the training ground, where he immediately set to work sniffing for the packet, which he found within seconds. The dog’s body tensed as he pointed his nose at the source of the smell, alerting his handler.

The regiment’s commanding officer, Colonel Zsolt Szilagyi, said that the increased use of improvised explosive devices by extremist cells since the turn of the millennium has necessitated the use of new methods of detecting potential bombs.

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“This was a challenge the military had to respond to, and one of the best ways to track down these devices is through the use of explosives detection dogs,” Szilagyi said. “These four-legged comrades support the activities of our bomb disposal soldiers.”

Logan, he said, will serve as an inspector of key sites in Hungary and could be sent to NATO missions abroad along with the country’s military.

While rescue dogs often present challenges in training given their often traumatic backgrounds, Nemeth said he is confident Logan will be successful and make a valuable addition to the unit.

“Logan is very valuable because about one in every 10,000 rescued dogs is both medically and psychologically fit for military service,” he said.

Recruiting rescue dogs often showcases their undiscovered abilities and allows them to find new homes in which to thrive, Szilagyi said.

“There are dogs that have great potential but have been marginalized for some reason,” he said. “We can give these dogs a new chance, so to speak, into a family where they can have a real life in loving, competent hands and be useful.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/05/14/hungarys-military-finds-mission-in-life-for-abused-dog/ Hungary’s military finds mission in life for battered dog

Joel McCord

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