WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently welcomed a new agriculture canine enforcement team to the Preclearance facility in Shannon, Ireland. “Kingston,” a two-year-old beagle, arrived in Ireland in early August and was reunited with his handler, CBP Agriculture Specialist (CBPAS) Thanuja Hall. Shannon, Ireland is the only preclearance facility with an agriculture canine team.
“Kingston and I are excited to be the first line in defending American agriculture from harmful pests and disease prior to them entering the U.S. as the only agriculture canine team at a Preclearance facility,” said CBPAS Hall. “Being a part of a canine detection team is not only one of the greatest jobs there is at CBP, but it is also one of the most important.”
The more than 116 CBP agriculture canine teams at ports of entry, land borders and mail facilities are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and disease into the United States. Every pest or disease intercepted could cause million in damages to U.S. agriculture. CBP agriculture specialists’ vigilance helps protect America’s farms, forests and natural resources.
“We are very pleased to have CBP Agriculture Specialist Hall and her K-9 partner Kingston on board here in Shannon Preclearance,” said (Acting) Port Director Gregory Starr. “The CBP agriculture mission is an integral part of our processing and we are extremely fortunate to have this canine team asset at our Preclearance location.”
Prior to arriving in Ireland, the team completed a mandatory U.S. Department of Agriculture training at the National Detector Dog Training Center (USDA NDDTC) in Georgia. All the detector canines at USDA NDDTC are adopted from rescue shelters in the U.S., like Kingston was, or gifted through private donations. CBPAS Hall joined CBP in 2005 and became a canine handler in 2007.
CBP Preclearance operations allow for advance inspection of passengers and special coordination with law enforcement upon arrival in the United States. Through preclearance, the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air passengers performed on arrival in the United States are instead completed before departure at foreign airports. Currently, preclearance operations exist at 15 foreign airports in six different countries, benefitting air passengers, airports, and air carriers, in the United States and abroad.
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.