Were you aware that bringing your favorite international foods to American shores in your suitcase is illegal?
Well apparently it is illegal and a team of specially-trained dogs are sniffing out your pork-belly and reporting back to U.S. Customs agents.
In a story from CBS out of Kennedy Airport in New York, one of the dogs, Izzy, is trained to find meat, food, seeds, and plants hidden away in luggage on international flights.
Once she uncovers the goods, her partner, Meghan Caffery, investigates further.
“People might say it’s just an apple but if that apple has an insect in it or a disease on it, it could devastate the agriculture industry in the United States,” Caffery explains.
Any confiscated food heads to the grinding room where it’s examined and then ground up.
Customs supervisor James Armstrong said it’s where deadly diseases – such as mad cow and foot and mouth disease and cholera — can be stopped from spreading through the country.
There’s a long list of agricultural products on the no-fly list and some passengers will do all they can to hide it.
Armstrong said they recently recovered pork fat which had been cut into chunks and put in soda bottles as a disguise.
Izzy has undergone 10 weeks of special training to join what’s known as the Beagle Brigade. She and other detector dogs are all adopted.
They can make it through hundreds of bags within 15 to 20 minutes and there’s only one thing that will slow her down.
Izzy and Caffery have been together for three years.
There is a little sadness in this lighthearted story. Caffery seems to suggest that her co-workers are so boring and lifeless that her best partner is a dog who cannot speak:
“She’s probably the best partners I’ve ever had here,” Caffery said. “She has her own chair in the office.”
Izzy is 6-years-old and normally the dogs work until they’re 8-years-old. However, supervisors say as long as Izzy is happy, she has a job.
If your interested in adopting Izzy after her work is done in two years, she’ll be up for adoption on a first come, first serve basis.