Saturday, 5 September 2020 – More than 100 policemen were searching for the escaped man, but in the end it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd that sniffed him out.
When detainee Branimir Čaleta managed to escape from custody on September 2, armed police were immediately on his tail. They knew where to look – he was seen running in the direction of Turska kula and the Park Mladosti in Split, near the Poljud football stadium.
But, though more than 100 officers were searching for the wanted man, in the end, it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd called Flip that sniffed him out.
The Malinois Belgian Shepherd is used by armed services, the police and for search and rescue all over the world © TC Perch
Details of Flip’s assistance were revealed in an interview undertaken with the dog’s handler, Split firefighter Joško Čule by the 24 sata news outlet. Although he was not allowed to reveal details of the fugitive’s capture, Joško did speak about his dog.
Flip is a search dog of the Public Fire Brigade of the City of Split, a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd. He was trained to search in all environments, from urban areas and ruins to wild nature, and in all weather conditions. He is a family dog, loves spending time with children, and with the firefighters. He is an active member of the firefighting team in Split and works every day. Flip is taken into the field when necessary and has so far participated in four searches for lost people. He found them all.
This firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is just one of the types of Belgian Shepherd. The other three are called Groenendael, Laekenois, and Tervuren. In Belgium, their country of origin, all four types are considered to be varieties of a single breed, differentiated by hair color and texture. Elsewhere, they are sometimes considered separate breeds.
Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is typical in having tan to brown short hair with patches of black. Belgian Shepherd Dogs are highly intelligent, alert, and sensitive to everything going on around them, and they form very strong relationship bonds. They are loyal, intelligent, fun, make good family pets and are very receptive to being trained, thus explaining the position of this firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.
A Belgian Shepherd with a close relative, a Dutch Shepherd © Marius Zopole
It is not only firefighters who use these dogs. They are used as search and rescue dogs by other services and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Malinois Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery. They are very protective of their owners and handlers.
The US Secret Service, Israel Defense Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Malinois Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.
The fugitive Branimir Čaleta ran away from police while he was at court in Split, where he was appearing charged with the murder of his one-time girlfriend, a Ukrainian national. Čaleta is now back in custody, thanks to Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.