‘Canine hero’ honoured on grand stage

Gypsy’s owner Chontel Flaws and Sergeant Luke Warburton.
Gypsy’s owner Chontel Flaws and Sergeant Luke Warburton.

A retired Riverina detection dog who spent her years unearthing drugs in prison has been honoured at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Gypsie, a Border Collie from the Junee shire, was named a Royal Canine Hero by the Australian Animal Registry this week. 

The award aims to recognise dogs which displayed bravery or transformed human lives through their training and dedication.

Gypsy located illegal drugs in a range of locations and searched inmates, visitors, staff, contractors, vehicles and cells. 

Her owner Chontel Flaws said the 14-year-old, who spent more than nine years working for Corrective Services NSW, had shown great bravery across her accomplished career.

“She not only made our workplace safer, but she saved lives by locating drugs that people were attempting to smuggle into the jail,” Ms Flaws said. 

“She never hesitated with her work, even when needing to search cells on the top landing, and she wasn’t a fan of heights.”

Gypsy's career was highlighted by competing in the Australian service dog trials in 2013, where she was the oldest operational dog competing, aged 10.

She completed the trial with a score of 293/300, with two perfect scores.

Gypsy is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement but has not slowed down, despite turning 14 in November this year.

The award was presented by another hero, a human hero, former police dog squad handler Sergeant Luke Warburton.

While responding to an incident at Nepean Hospital, Sergeant Warburton was shot through the stomach.

He was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Valour for his efforts.


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