Beagle Brigade

August 31, 2015


7880830004_869cf6e15a_bIf you’ve ever tried to enter the United States with a suitcase full of  coconuts, you may have been stopped by one of the friendly members of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Beagle Brigade.


This beagle signals that a piece of luggage contains contraband at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA on March 14, 2001. The Beagle Brigade is a team of beagles and their human handlers who, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspect luggage at U.S. airports searching for agricultural products. The Beagle Brigade program averages around 75,000 seizures of prohibited agricultural products a year. Unauthorized meat, animal byproducts, fruit and vegetables can carry diseases and pests that have the potential to infect U.S. agriculture. APHIS works in conjunction with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Public Health Service at entry points to the U.S., including land borders, ports and airports. The Beagle Brigade generally works in the baggage-claim area at international airports. After 911, the Beagle Brigade is under the authority of Homeland Security. USDA photo by Ken Hammond.

Over 60 teams of Beagles serve 21 international airports, confiscating over 75,000 prohibited agricultural products each year. Trained in a special facility in Newnan, Georgia, the Beagles are either rescued from shelters or donated by their owners. Once they’ve been on the job for a year, the dogs have a 90% accuracy rate at locating prohibited items.



The offenders are usually clueless to the rules, so they are only given warnings and the item is confiscated. Citations are only issued is when it is obvious the person was trying to hide the item and meant harm.


Sorrento Lemon(So when “someone” I know brought these giant lemons back from Sorrento, she would have been forgiven . . . IF she had been caught! Ha! Fugitive!)



Unlike most dogs, Beagles are able to categorize smells and are trained to alert their handlers to restricted items that could unknowingly transport insects or disease into the USA.


8a7831a33adee6db8593a0c2dd34c180In honor of Happy Birthday Week, Lois Lane wanted to share these Beagles with you. They’re kind of like her dream team, and she’s their biggest groupie.



Have you ever seen the Beagle Brigade in an airport?


Leave a Reply

  1. This is just too cute. If I ever saw the Beagle Brigade I would be laughing so hard I would probably be detained for causing a disturbance.

    1. B-) Love it!!!

      Our Westie Scarlett O’HARA says she loved the cartoon strip!
      Of course Rhett misses Scarlett, he would just never admit it!!
      Pets and kisses to Lois Lane!!

  2. What cuties…and no I have not seen any beagles at the airports I have been in this year. I know beagles are good hunting dogs due to those sniffing gifts!! I will be on the lookout for the Beagle Brigade.

  3. Cool post! Thanks for sharing it with us! Not only are beagles super cute, who knew they were very smart, too! 🙂 When I graduated from HS, I went on trip with my grandmother, (who was a real pistol, bless her heart), to Hawaii. On one excursion, we went to a Macadamia Plant. My grandmother picked up a few of the unshelled nuts to bring home. At the airport, as we were going through customs, they found several of them and wouldn’t let her bring them back into the mainland. She was pretty upset, but still managed to smuggle a few they didn’t find hidden on her “somewhere”… and I really don’t care to ever know where! ha! ~Rhonda

    1. She could find food buried on the other side of world, but as for being orderly and trained . . . that’s another story.

  4. Now that is too funny. If the supper dish keeps being late she just may come up missing, having run away to join the Brigade. She would demand “dibs” on any food she found.

    1. There’s no way Lois’ dinner could ever be late. She eats at exactly 4pm, and at exactly 3:45, she starts staring at me, making a high pitched whine. If we dare go one minute past 4pm, we get the howl.

  5. I haven’t seen these beagles, either. They are stinking cute. You should research Python Pete, a beagle who was trained to find Burmese pythons in the Everglades. There are YouTube videos, too.
    I think the cow college trains dogs to sniff out specific scents other than explosives and contraband. Guess awbrens isn’t all bad.

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