Stepping into a new era of customs enforcement, Thailand Customs Department recently inaugurated its premier sniffer dog training centre, the Thai Customs Canine Training Centre (TCCTC), settled within the scenic surroundings of the Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan. Brought to life with the prime objective of identifying concealed narcotics in imported and exported items, the centre is geared to train and home no less than five sniffer dogs.
Marking the grand opening of the centre, key dignitaries graced the event. The esteemed attendee list includes the Customs Department’s director-general, Patchara Anuntasilpa; the director-general of the Customs Human Resource Development Institute from South Korea, Yoo Sunhee, along with noteworthy representatives from the related sectors. The state-of-the-art centre spans over 2 rai of land, with its prime location in tambon Nong Prue serving as the perfect setting for training these canine officers.
In an effort to mimic the conditions in which these specially trained dogs will have to operate, the centre is equipped with an office edifice, an outdoor training ground, and a simulation-packed one-storey training building. This building, as explained by Mr Patchara, is embedded with training paraphernalia, including simulated luggage and a conveyor belt. This is designed to expose the dogs to a work-like environment, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle the real world’s exigencies.
To ensure that the dogs’ health and wellbeing are well taken care of, a group of experienced veterinarians from the reputable Suwanchard Pet Hospital are on hand. This stresses the significance placed on the dogs’ welfare, acknowledging that their performance and efficiency are correlated directly to their physical well-being and health.
As revealed by Mr Patchara, the idea of setting up this centre was inspired by several countries that effectively implement sniffer dogs in their custom operations. These nations, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, have established dog training centres at their disposal. Their experiences and practices were observed keenly and recommendations were instigated upon to implement effective training methods at the TCCTC.
In an unprecedented show of support, upon learning of the Thai department’s plans to establish the TCCTC, the South Korean customs department extended their assistance by offering a pair of their labrador retrievers, affectionately named Khanun (Jackfruit) and Durian. In addition, they also offered to train two Thai customs officers in dog handling techniques for a period of 12 weeks. The pair of canines, along with their trainers, made their first footprint on Thai soil on July 23, thus marking the start of a new chapter in Thai customs operations.