Quarantine dogs sniffing out trouble

19 Dec, 2008 03:00 AM

Yaegar the Labrador is proving an asset to Quarantine WA by discovering prohibited items in both personal and commercial consignments from interstate.

Department of Agriculture and Food border biosecurity director Greg Pickles said Yaegar was an active detector dog, trained to paw at packages of interest.

This was in contrast to Quarantine WA beagles at the airport which are passive detector dogs, trained to sit next to a bag when they smell quarantine risk material.

"Yaegar's weekly patrol schedule includes freight depots, courier premises, the Australia Post Parcels Centre and the Express Post depot. Healso occasionally visits the Perth Airport," Mr Pickles said.

"Over the past months, Yaegar has alerted his Quarantine WA handler to the presence of a variety of prohibited items ranging from dried plant material to fruit and soil.

"He has been particularly good at finding honey, even when it is honey contained within other products such as sauces and condiments."

Mr Pickles said seizures which resulted in a breach notice include unidentified seeds and undeclared bud wood found in the mail, and a commercial consignment of punching bags filled with unscoured wool, plant and seed material.

"Although detector dogs undergo extensive training before being deployed they also learn continuously as they work," he said.

"Another active detector dog is soon to be introduced at the Parcels Centre where Yaegar has set such an impressive benchmark."



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