K9 “Benny” Reaches Notable Milestone
SAN FRANCISCO—Benny, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture canine working at San Francisco International Airport, reached a notable milestone last month when he and his CBP agriculture specialist handler Maria Bertram made their 10,000th seizure of prohibited agriculture products being brought into the United States.
“CBP’s agriculture detection canines play a vital role in protecting our nation’s borders,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP director of field operations in San Francisco. “Using a keen sense of smell, they can quickly locate prohibited plant and animal products that could potentially carry harmful pests and diseases.”
Born in 2007, Benny was bred by a championship breeder in Missouri. Instead of becoming a show dog however, he became someone’s pet, developed a strong food drive, and was 12 pounds overweight when he was given up to a shelter in 2010. Benny was rescued from the shelter by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center (NDDTC), put on a strict weight loss program, and quickly demonstrated strong detection capabilities.
Benny came to CBP San Francisco in April 2011, where he proved to have an excellent nose for finding many exotic food items on a daily basis. With an average of 200 seizures per month, the team made their 10,000th seizure on January 7, 2015. Notable finds from Benny’s career to date include a duffel bag filled with mangoes, plant cuttings for propagation inside a passenger’s pants pocket, several seizures of curry leaves with Asian Citrus Psyllid, and a whole raw turkey a few days before Thanksgiving.
For more information on CBP’s agriculture canine program visit CBP.gov.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.