Madrid’s police dogs and their trainers have been so overworked since the March 11 Madrid train bombings that the dogs are losing their ability to detect bombs, a police union official said.
Madrid has received an average of 15 bomb threats a day since the train bombings that killed 191 people, said Jose Canales, an officer with the Federal Police Union. Before there had been one or two threats a day.
“We have dogs. What we need are trainers,” Canales told Reuters Thursday, confirming a report in El Mundo newspaper.
Without the trainers, the dogs can’t perform, Canales said. The dogs need one day of training for every two days on duty, he said, or five hours of training for every one hour of work.
There are around 65 police dogs in Madrid, some for bomb detection, others to hunt drugs and others for attack and defense.
But there are only 27 trainers. “They need time off,” he said.
Canales said he was concerned because of the extra security needed for the May 22 wedding of the heir to the Spanish throne, when Prince Felipe is due to marry former television presenter Letizia Ortiz.