Homeless dog from Henry County joins “Beagle Brigade”

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Dogs have been helping humans ever since, well, God created dogs and humans. There are many specific ways a dog can do this, and certain breeds have specific skills that are utilized regularly by various organizations from agriculture to law enforcement.

Delphine is a member of the “Beagle Brigade,” a team of dogs that inspect luggage at U.S. airports searching for illegal agricultural products. Special photo

On the other hand, an animal not previously identified with such a skill can often languish in a shelter or otherwise not cared for with seemingly no future in sight.

But sometimes a story like that has a happy ending. Such was the case last week at Henry County Animal Care and Control, which announced that one of its shelter residents has found a new home and a new purpose.

Delhpine is the latest of eight formerly homeless dogs from the Henry County Animal Control Shelter in the past two years to graduate from the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan and become a member of the Beagle Brigade.

According to HCACC director Gerri Yoder, “The Beagle Brigade is a team of dogs, mostly beagles, and their human handlers who, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, inspect luggage at U.S. airports searching for illegal agricultural products.”

The USDA reports that the Beagle Brigade program averages around 75,000 seizures of prohibited agricultural products a year.

A dog’s career with the Brigade is typically between six and ten years, Yoder said, and upon retirement a dog is almost always adopted by the handler with which it was paired throughout its time of service. If that doesn’t happen, the dog is placed in a screened and approved adoptive home.

Early last week Henry County Animal Care and Control received a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its outstanding support of the detector program.

Of course, the shelter in McDonough is always occupied by a number of dogs and cats looking for permanent homes. For more information on Henry County Animal Care and Control, visit www.henrycounty-ga.org/animalcontrol.