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 can present
a major risk to California’s agricultural industry, the environment, and our
backyard gardens if they are sent from areas that have pests or plant diseases
we don’t have here in California. Incoming shipments of agricultural products
are an easy way for insects, plant diseases, and weeds to hitch-hike a ride
into the State.
Every day, Agricultural Biologists visit parcel facilities and
inspect packages containing agricultural products. But, there are many
packages that are not labeled on the outside of the box and we have no idea
whether or not they contain agricultural products.
To combat this problem, Santa Clara County’s Division of
Agriculture deploys a canine parcel inspection team. Our detector team
consists of our canine, “Tank”, and several agricultural biologists. We
take Tank to parcel facilities and he scratches at parcels containing
agricultural products to alert our dog-handler. The package is then
inspected by a biologist to determine if the agricultural products are allowed
To learn more about California’s dog teams, you can visit the
California Department of Food and Agricultural website. To see pictures,
current information, interesting finds, and program updates about our dog
team, visit our dog team’s blog website.