Newnan (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in metro Atlanta touring the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan. They admittedly don’t get much publicity, but their so-called Beagle Brigade is pretty famous for its important work at airports to keep out hidden dangers.
One of the really interesting things about the dogs trained there are many of them come from Georgia animal shelters.
For example, Buddy, a 3-year-old beagle mix, who just a few weeks ago was in the Harris County Animal Shelter. Now he’s a member of the government’s Beagle Brigade and is training to sniff out certain fruits or meats entering the United States that could be carrying pests or disease harmful to American agriculture.
“Some of it is nefarious, people trying to smuggle things in. Others are innocent like foreign travelers trying to bring in meat from their country,” Perdue said.
They train mostly beagles, labs and Jack Russell Terriers. The dogs work U.S. international airports and on the border at crossings as well as mail and cargo facilities.
The train mostly to find apples, citrus, mango, beef, and pork.
FOX 5 News was shown 11-month-old Raines, a Jack Russell Terrier, trained to find snakes in cargo to keep them out of snake-free Hawaii.
The public can also adopt USDA dogs that don’t make it the program.