Santa Clara County will host the 2013 California Agriculture Detector Dog Program All State Training. Twelve dog teams from across the state will participate in the training provided by the County of Santa Clara Division of Agriculture. The purpose of the training is to sharpen the dogs’ detection skills.
9:15 a.m., May 29, 2013
Vector Control Building, 1580 Berger Drive, San Jose, CA 95112
Michelle Thom, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner, Santa Clara County
Agriculture Detector Dogs and their handlers
Detector Dogs in training
Every year, billions of dollars worth of agricultural products are shipped into and through California. Incoming shipments of items like seeds, plants, soil, fruits and vegetables are an easy way for insects, plant diseases, and weeds to hitch-hike a ride and can present a risk to California’s agricultural industry, the environment, and residents’ backyard gardens.
Every day, Agricultural Biologists visit parcel facilities and inspect packages containing agricultural products. However, many packages are not labeled on the outside of the box that they contain fruit, vegetables, or plants. In order to stop the flow of un-checked agricultural products, local agricultural departments in California use highly trained canines at parcel facilities to detect the unmarked agricultural parcels. Once identified by a canine that a package contains an agricultural product, the package is inspected by a biologist to determine if the product is allowed into California.
There are a total of 13 dog teams in California. From July 2011 – June 2012, the dog teams alerted on 2,925 unmarked parcels. These unmarked packages have the highest risk of carrying an invasive species because the majority of them come from private parties from other parts of the country shipping backyard-grown produce to California. Last year, the dog teams successfully stopped 124 pests that are not found in California and were rated as being detrimental to agriculture and our environment.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Helena Roberts, Agriculture and Environmental Management (408)918-4668
Posted: May 28, 2013