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2008-07-18 00:00

“Ispend more time with my dogs than I do with my family,” says Inspector Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg dog unit. This poignant statement sums up the life of this well-known figure who is dedicated to serving others.

Haskins was born in Manzini, Swaziland, and has four sisters and a brother. He went to school in Pietermaritzburg, attending Pelham Primary and Alexandra Boys’ High. After completing his two years of national service he worked in his father’s real estate business in the city. Two of his sisters were in the SAPS, which pricked his interest, so he too joined the service in 1977. “After six months’ basic training I was posted to Oliviershoek in the Drakensberg for a year, then to Dannhauser for two years. I moved to Pietermaritzburg in 1980. My parents owned a roadhouse called the Owl’s Nest in Chapel Street, where I often met SAPS dog handlers. That’s how I became interested in the Dog Unit. I applied to join, was accepted and transferred in 1981. At first I worked with a patrol dog attending to general crime-related complaints, but soon I went on to train the same dog as an explosives dog. This involved checking ‘suspicious packages’ and responding to ‘bomb scares’.”

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