CBP using Beagles to sniff out illegal food (CBP)
CBP using Beagles to sniff out illegal food (CBP)

When we think of dogs being used by US Customs and Border Patrol, we think of muscular, massive German Shepards or Belinois barkers. But Beagles?!?

 Feds using Beagles to detect illegal food shipments

Beagles, say US Customs officials, possess a keen ability to hit on, or detect, food being smuggled into the country. We're not talking about a candy bar, but large amounts of various foods.

It's become a big enough issue that Beagles are being used at many larger ports of entry by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). 

A recent example of this was in Philadelphia, were a Beagle named Harrie detected at least 44 pounds of illegal meat, uncooked rice, and other vegetables being smuggled in by a couple from Bangladesh. The suspects said they had no food to declare at the Philly Airport, but Harrie honed in on their cargo.

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It may not seem like a serious deal, but CBP officials say illegal food smuggling threatens the US agriculture growth and supply chain. For example, illegally smuggled rice from Asia often contains substances, or insects, that if exposed to the environment can damage our ecosystem.  CPB says in one example:

"(the)Khapra beetle is one of world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. If Khapra beetle establishes in the United States, it could have a crippling effect on our ability to export grain products. Additionally, unpermitted beef products from regions that have experienced episodes of animal diseases are prohibited from the U.S."

Beagles have sniffed out and CPB has confiscated over 215,000 illegal food items at various ports of entry in the US since the beginning of 2021. So if you see Snoopy sniffing around cargo or baggage, at an airport, that's why.

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Gallery Credit: Sabienna Bowman


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