PHILADELPHIA – What are the only things an agriculture detector dog wants for his birthday? Easy, some honest work and a cup of his favorite ice cream.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture canine Potter serves at Philadelphia International Airport on CBP’s Beagle Brigade, a nationwide unit of highly skilled and highly motivated agriculture detector dogs. He celebrated his eighth birthday on Cinco de Mayo as he likes to do every day – sniffing passengers’ baggage in the search for prohibited plant and animal products that could carry disease or invasive insect pests.
On Potter’s last flight of the day, he detected a half-dozen prohibited mangos in a passenger’s baggage after a flight landed from Jamaica. After his shift concluded on Wednesday, his handler, CBP Agriculture Specialist Mary Yasson, completed her paperwork while Potter devoured a cup of peanut butter flavored doggie ice cream.
“Potter absolutely loves to work, so we shouldn’t expect anything less from our dedicated beagle partner on his birthday. I’m happy that he got to enjoy his favorite ice cream at the end of another successful shift,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Agriculture canine teams are vital to protecting our nation’s agricultural, timber and livestock resources from threats that pose very serious impacts to our nation’s economic vitality.”
CBP’s agriculture detector dog program got its roots in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1984. CBP was created in 2003 and it absorbed the USDA’s agriculture inspectors and canine program. One interesting fact is that all of CBP’s agriculture detector dogs are adopted from rescue shelters in the United States or enter the training program through private donations.
CBP agriculture specialists are charged with the challenging task of safeguarding our nation’s agricultural resources by examining international trade shipments and traveler baggage every day for invasive insects, federal noxious weeds, and plant and animal diseases. They have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection.
Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2020.