He may look like your average Labrador but 10-year-old Yuli has uncovered more than $10 million worth of drugs during his career as a police dog.
The hardworking pooch was one of a team of five detector dogs who play a vital role in the seizure of illicit drugs across the state.
During his first year in the police force Yuli detected $70,000 worth of cannabis, which had been concealed in the back of a car, and just last year he detected 100g of methylamphetamine at Launceston airport.
After retiring from his role in May, Yuli still enjoys the occasional ride along with his former handler and current owner Senior Constable Jareth Anderson.
Yuli was one of two dogs Senior Constable Anderson has worked with since joining the Dog Handler’s Unit in 2008.
Senior Constable Anderson, who is also the training officer for the unit, said drug detection dogs were an invaluable resource.
“They’re a useful tool because they allow us to be able to screen large areas, and complex areas, a lot quicker,” he said.
“They can pick up a minute scent that may be emanating from a very heavily concealed target item, for example drugs, and allow us to pinpoint where we need to focus our searching efforts.”
While it might take a team of six constables about half an hour to properly search a house, Senior Constable Anderson said a police dog could screen it in under 10 to 12 minutes.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t still search, it just helps us do our job quicker so we can continue on with what we need to do,” he said.
Across Tasmania, there are two drug detection dogs based in the South, two in the North-West and one in Launceston.
With a working life of about seven years, the Labradors become part of the Tasmania Police family and Senior Constable Anderson said there was always a special bond between the dogs and their handlers.
“You wouldn’t do the job if you didn’t have a soft spot for dogs, you become very protective [of the dog],” he said.
“If anyone ever hurt one of these animals, they’d have the entire police force to deal with, because we always protect our own.”
Senior Constable Anderson now has 2-year-old Labrador Yardley by his side at work, while Yuli has become his much-loved pet.