Airport dog finds illegal food stowed in luggage

March 26, 2012 3:44:24 AM PDT
On a recent busy afternoon at Kennedy Airport, a beagle with plaintive-looking eyes was lying on the floor of Terminal 4, oblivious to the chaos of rolling luggage and human activity teeming all around her.

There was no prying this dog off the ground -- despite the best attempts of Officer Meghan Caffery, her closest companion and partner.

"Izzy," Caffery said, a note of exasperation in her voice. "You've only been here an hour."

The 6-year-old beagle, who works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, can't be faulted for taking a break. She spends most of her time trotting briskly around the baggage carousels with Caffery in tow, searching for illegal food stowed in luggage arriving from international flights. Thousands of bags stream through this terminal every hour, and Izzy is the first line of defense against food or plants that could wreak havoc on American agriculture.

"Some flights are, you know, just apples or sandwiches that people had from the plane they forgot in their bags," said Caffery, an agriculture specialist canine handler. "Some flights are notorious for bringing in sausages or fresh fruits."


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