Dog sniffs out package near Ontario International Airport
SACRAMENTO – A parcel inspection dog named C.C., working last year near Ontario International Airport, sniffed out a mislabeled box of mangoes from India. The detection set in motion a year-long investigation culminating in a lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General’s Office against an international shipping company. Bombino Express was the label on the package. The complaint alleges that the company regularly shipped mislabeled produce to skirt state and federal inspection and treatment regulations designed to protect against invasive species.
“This is an important example of the risk we face from invasive species introduction each day in California,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “This type of situation is one of several ways that new spot infestations of exotic pests develop. We are pleased to partner with the Attorney General’s office in the pursuit of this lawsuit, and we salute the excellent work of parcel inspection dogs and their handlers.”
According to state and federal law, fruit imported from India must be treated before being sent to the United States. The packages must then be accompanied by certificates stating that they were treated. This apparently did not occur for the mislabeled mangoes.
C.C. is a Labrador-mix working for the San Bernardino County Agricultural Commissioner’s office in a joint county/state/federal demonstration project aimed at the re-introduction of parcel sniff dogs throughout the state. Currently, Contra Costa County is also using dogs for parcel inspections in the Bay Area, and there are plans to assign dogs this year in San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno counties. Due to early successes with the demonstration project, funding could be made available through the Farm Bill to help expand the program.
C.C. was rescued from an animal shelter in Florida and trained as a parcel sniff dog by the USDA. The dog and her handler, Michael Cochrane, regularly screen parcels shipped into California via Ontario International Airport. Please follow this link for a photo of C.C.
You may also visit CDFA’s YouTube page for a short video about a parcel inspection dog.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814