Beagle Brigade

7880830004_869cf6e15a_bIf you’ve ever tried to enter the United States with a suitcase full of  coconuts, you may have been stopped by one of the friendly members of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Beagle Brigade.

 

This beagle signals that a piece of luggage contains contraband at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA on March 14, 2001. The Beagle Brigade is a team of beagles and their human handlers who, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspect luggage at U.S. airports searching for agricultural products. The Beagle Brigade program averages around 75,000 seizures of prohibited agricultural products a year. Unauthorized meat, animal byproducts, fruit and vegetables can carry diseases and pests that have the potential to infect U.S. agriculture. APHIS works in conjunction with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Public Health Service at entry points to the U.S., including land borders, ports and airports. The Beagle Brigade generally works in the baggage-claim area at international airports. After 911, the Beagle Brigade is under the authority of Homeland Security. USDA photo by Ken Hammond.

Over 60 teams of Beagles serve 21 international airports, confiscating over 75,000 prohibited agricultural products each year. Trained in a special facility in Newnan, Georgia, the Beagles are either rescued from shelters or donated by their owners. Once they’ve been on the job for a year, the dogs have a 90% accuracy rate at locating prohibited items.

 

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The offenders are usually clueless to the rules, so they are only given warnings and the item is confiscated. Citations are only issued is when it is obvious the person was trying to hide the item and meant harm.

 

Sorrento Lemon(So when “someone” I know brought these giant lemons back from Sorrento, she would have been forgiven . . . IF she had been caught! Ha! Fugitive!)

 

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Unlike most dogs, Beagles are able to categorize smells and are trained to alert their handlers to restricted items that could unknowingly transport insects or disease into the USA.

 

8a7831a33adee6db8593a0c2dd34c180In honor of Happy Birthday Week, Lois Lane wanted to share these Beagles with you. They’re kind of like her dream team, and she’s their biggest groupie.

 

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Have you ever seen the Beagle Brigade in an airport?

 

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