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Dogs as Heroes: USDA Trained Detector Dogs Help Defend American Border from Pests and Diseases

While dogs are man’s best friend, they are also one of the most efficient friends we have in protecting American agriculture and natural resources from the threat of invasive pests. Last month a dog trained by U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proved that fact when he uncovered a roasted pig head stowed in passenger baggage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Pork and pork products from other countries are not permitted to enter the U.S. as they could bring diseases like African swine fever and foot and mouth disease to the United States.  

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Odin is a Labrador retriever/border collie mix. By watching his wagging tail and alert expression, Colorado State University researcher Dr. Glen Golden can sense he is eager to begin his training.

Odin is one of five dogs recently adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers to become detector dogs for wildlife disease surveillance. The dogs are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect and identify waterfowl feces or carcasses infected with avian influenza (AI). If successful, this collaboration may be extended an additional 12 months.

Unleashing a New Tool to Stop an Unexpected Invader

The National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, within the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services (WS) program, has unleashed detector dogs as a new tool to help stop the spread of feral swine, one of the United States’ most destructive and ravenous invasive creatures.

Navigating Pet Travel? Let APHIS Help.

When planning an international trip, we often want to bring the whole family – including our pets.  But, did you know taking Fido or Fluffy can be a complex, multistep process that requires advance planning and preparation?  To help make this process go smoothly, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a few simple steps to follow – and a comprehensive website to walk you through the process.