Brittany Spaniel to Help Spread Word About Illegal Produce Imports
SACRAMENTO-A two-year old Brittany Spaniel named Joe is the latest addition to the Public Affairs office at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The dog is making public appearances throughout the state, demonstrating how CDFA’s teams of parcel inspection dogs and handlers search postal and parcel facilities for packages containing illegal produce and plants.
“The parcel inspection dogs are critical to our pest prevention program,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity, through Joe, to show the people of California what they can do.”
Joe’s handler is CDFA employee Adrian Woodfork, a dog breeder, trainer and exhibitor with more than 30 years experience in the field. Woodfork is traveling with Joe to schools, special events and exhibitions to educate the public about the hazards of importing fruits, vegetables and plants from other states and countries. Exotic pests and disease can easily hitchhike into California on these products.
The illegal import of produce and plants is a costly activity for California, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in expenditures for pest eradication projects over the years. Each find by a parcel inspection dog represents one less potential pest threat to California’s food supply and the environment.
The effectiveness of the CDFA dog teams has resulted in a temporary reassignment to the United States Department of Agriculture, which trained 11 dogs to recognize packages containing meat products as part of the fight to prevent Foot-and-Mouth Disease from becoming established in the U.S.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814