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Lucky and Flo honoured after piracy-busting stint
By : Nisha Sabanayagam
Lucky and Flo yesterday became the first dogs to be honoured by the government.
They were awarded commendation medals for outstanding service in the detection of counterfeit optical discs.
The medals were in recognition of the dogs' five-month "stint" with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry's anti-piracy unit since March.
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk S. Veerasingam pre-sided over the ceremony yesterday.
He said their keen sense of smell had led to the seizure of about 1.6 million pirated discs.
"With Lucky and Flo, we managed to make seizures in places we would not have thought of going into or could not have gone into."
The seizures had a face value of RM22.8 million. Twenty-six people were also arrested.
Motion Picture Association (MPA) director of operation for Asia-Pacific region, Edward Neubronner, and ministry officers also attended the event.
Lucky and Flo, which were brought to Malaysia by the MPA, leave for the US on Thursday before returning home to Ireland.
The two are the world's first dogs trained to identify optical discs by scent.
Their successful stint in Malaysia has made international headlines in major newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune, Times of India and Gulf Times. The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom carried the report of the RM100,000 bounty on the dogs, which incurred the outrage of the British public.
Various online newspapers, such as news.bbc.co.uk and Washingtonpost.com, have also highlighted the canines' work in Malaysia.
Veerasingam said despite the ministry's commitment to eradicating piracy, it could only be wiped out if the public stopped buying illegal copies of movies.
"We need the people's support. Piracy can kill other legitimate businesses, not just the motion picture industry."
The success of Lucky and Flo has led the ministry to set up its own K-9 unit.
U. Thiva, one of the handlers, said Lucky and Flo were special.
"There is something about them — everyone really likes them," he said.