Successful partnerships aren’t always easy to come by, but Lawrence Magowa and his partner and best friend, Belgian Malinois, Viper are a perfect example of getting it right.
Three-year old Viper was trained as a rhino poacher-tracking dog in Mpumalanga, but he didn’t enjoy the long hot days in the veld tracking scents. Viper is more of a sprinter than a long distance runner and it was decided he would be better suited to community policing. Enter CORTAC and Senior Tactical Officer Lawrence Magowa who has worked at CORTAC for the past five years. Lawrence, who loves dogs, volunteered to become CORTAC’s first dog handler at the beginning of this year.
The training was intense. It involved two-months on site military-style training at a dog training school. Lawrence and Viper spent days and nights sleeping next to each other on mountains, bonding and getting to know each other. Viper enjoyed the training and action that came with it, including jumping through open car windows to catch criminals and rappelling from a helicopter.
As a working dog, Viper needs the best nutrition available. Champion Petfoods generously sponsor Viper’s food. He eats ACANA, an award-winning Canadian pet food packed with 60% chicken, eggs and fish to keep him in optimal condition, and his energy levels steady without any of the dips that come with carbohydrates.
Lawrence starts his day each morning giving Viper breakfast and brushing his coat. The team is a formidable force in the Parks and Linden areas, having been involved in the successful arrests of a number of suspects involving thefts out of motor vehicles. They can often be spotted proactively patrolling the Braamfontein Spruit, and along Tana Road in Linden. Their shifts generally start at 15h00 and continue through to 03h00 the following morning.
Lawrence says with a smile, “Viper listens to me so nicely. He likes me too much. We are great friends and a great team”. Residents in The Parks can sleep better at night knowing that CORTAC’s fearless tracking dog is patrolling the streets and will stop at nothing to catch criminals.