INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the International Falls Port of Entry hosted a retirement party Wednesday for CBP narcotics detector dog “Miky.”
“Miky” served with his partner, CBP Officer Pete Benedix, since 2012 and was assigned to the International Falls Port of Entry. In his five-year career, “Miky” participated in multiple narcotics seizures.
CBP employs dogs as long as they can successfully perform and meet workload requirements. The service career of a detector dog will typically last no longer than eight years. “Miky” was adopted by his CBP K-9 handler and partner. This ensures that “Miky” will have a loving and comfortable life for his golden years in retirement.
Detector dogs were introduced on a wide scale in April 1970 as part of a major effort by the then-U.S. Customs Service to interdict narcotics being smuggled through major air, sea, and land border ports. Teams consisting of a dog and officer are used to screen arriving aircraft, cargo, baggage, mail, ships, vehicles, and passengers.
CBP uses a wide variety of dogs including, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and many mixed breeds. The CBP agriculture canine program uses Beagles as well. Dogs used by CBP can be either male or female, but must be between 1 and 3 years of age when recruited.
Canine candidates that are selected for training are obtained from animal shelters, humane societies and rescue leagues, primarily in the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the United States. Many of these dogs are unadoptable and would otherwise have to be destroyed. Dogs meeting the entrance qualifications are also taken as donations from private owners. In addition, CBP maintains its own K-9 breeding program to provide additional detector dogs to the program.