Detector Dogs line up to Protect against Invasive Pests
November 21, 2013
Someday you may meet Linus
Linus is an agriculture detector dog who works at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. He and his handler are among the teams deployed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at international airports nationwide. Their job is to find banned agricultural products in the luggage of arriving passengers, and each day they do just that. Agents seize thousands of pounds of dangerous, contraband agricultural products daily at international airports and other ports of entry, including at maritime ports.
Linus is the face of the Don’t Pack a Pest Travelers Campaign, which is aimed at convincing international travelers to declare agricultural items at customs, rather than waiting for Linus and his cohorts to sniff them out. Linus’s likeness appears on signage at airports and seaports, on billboards and in videos playing at Customs and aboard some flights.
The airport detector dogs, all beagles selected for their sensitive noses and friendly dispositions, are gaining a degree of celebrity from the campaign. In fact, CBP has created a fan card for each one of them (see Lilnus’s, above). If you encounter Linus or one of his counterparts at an international airport, you may be able to collect a card from the handler. If you do, be sure to thank the team for the work they do every day to protect us all from invasive pests and diseases.
The program is a federally funded, joint effort of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In the continental U.S., the “Don’t Pack a Pest” message is delivered via the airing of the 60-second video at the nation’s busiest international airports and signage displayed at many cruise ship terminals. The video is also playing aboard JetBlue and American Airlines flights. (You can view the video here.)
If you are traveling internationally for the holidays, the Florida Department of Agriculture, along with its partnering agencies, urge you to help protect our food supply and natural resources from harmful pests and diseases.
Don’t Pack a Pest!