Detector Dog Team

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Detector Dog Team

The Detector Dog Team Program is a joint program between the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and county agricultural commissioners. The purpose of the program is to enhance inspection and surveillance activities related to plant products entering the State of California via parcel delivery facilities and airfreight terminals, to help protect the food supply, the environment, and plant health.

Detector Dog Teams are trained to inspect packages in parcel delivery facilities such as the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS, to detect prohibited agricultural items, such as fruits, vegetables, or plant parts, that could carry plant pests or diseases into the region. If these threats were to enter, they could seriously harm food crops, forests, farms, the environment, and the livelihoods of farmers and growers.

Most dogs in the program have been rescued through animal shelters, breed rescue groups, and newspaper/internet ads. Dogs selected for the program have been screened for high food drive, sociability, intelligence, physical soundness and low anxiety levels.