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Beagle brigade turns rescue dogs into airport aides | News

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Beagle brigade turns rescue dogs into airport aides

ATLANTA -- They arrive weary from flight. They get to baggage claim and customs. And then, international travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport get an unexpected treat -- sometimes -- when they are greeted by Linus.

"He's very affectionate," says Linus' handler, Rusty Adams. "Very affectionate and very loyal ..."

But below this beagle's tender eyes is the best nose around.

Linus is one of 115 beagles working at airports around the country; they sniff out foods that are unsafe to enter the U.S.

"Beagles are great hunters," Adams said. "We just taught them to hunt something besides rabbits."

On the day we visited, the airport had already confiscated sugar cane, a bitter leaf plant, and various other fruits, vegetables, and meats. On one bean pod, they found a potentially dangerous fruit-fly larva.

Linus was found, like all the program's beagles, at a shelter. U.S. Customs and Border Protection rescued him and paired him with Adams, his partner now for five years.

"When I go over for an inspection, I'm guessing," Adams said, "but he's about 95 percent accurate."