Toby is joining the USDA’s Beagle Brigade

When in need of an Officer with special talents the USDA knew exactly where to look, a local animal shelter. Toby, a homeless Beagle has become a USDA Federal Officer and will soon be protecting our borders.

Toby was found on the side of the road guarding the body of his sister who had been hit by a car. A good samaritan picked him up. When his owner could not be found he was turned over to the Humane League of Lake Lanier, a local animal shelter. Placed in a foster home, Toby is a typical happy Beagle who really likes his dinner. “He’s very food motivated” says foster mom Kelly Emery, “and that is one of the reasons the USDA was so interested in him.”

Toby was put through a variety of tests including behavior analysis, health examinations and a walk through at Atlanta’s airport. Showing the same dedication he had for his sister, Toby excelled at every test. Once he completes training, Toby will be assigned a human partner. Together they will conduct inspections at international airports sniffing for prohibited agricultural products and pests. The Government Accountability Office calls these agriculture canine teams “a key tool for targeting passengers and cargo for inspection”. Paid in kibble and belly rubs, Toby is officially a United States Federal Officer with all the protections the title entails.

“I think the lesson we all can learn from Toby”, says Humane League of Lake Lanier president Beth Mulrooney, “is that there are a lot of good pets at our local animal shelters. Whatever you are looking for in a pet, you can find it at a shelter”.

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