For the past five years, smuggling a prohibited item through New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport meant getting it past the sharp nose of K-9 Jasper.
In other words, not a chance.
The 8-year-old Beagle, who works for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBD), has intercepted everything from prohibited citrus plants to a goat’s head to a pig’s leg—a total of 23,485 items.
And now, he’s enjoying a well-earned retirement at the Long Island home of his handler, Amanda Tripple.
Jasper and Tripple were one of more than 100 canine teams working for CDB in agriculture detection at airports around the country. He began training for his role on the so-called Beagle Brigade in 2011 after coming from a humane society in Georgia. Beagles, which were in the #5 spot of AKC's list of the most popular breeds in the country, originally worked as rabbit hunters and carry a keen tracking ability in their genes. This makes them excellent detection dogs.
Jasper was equipped with both his breed's instincts and an intense desire to work.
“We grew accustomed to watching Jasper enthusiastically work to prevent prohibited animal and plant products from entering into the United States,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York in a press release. “We are going to miss seeing him in action.”
All photos courtesy CBP.
Want to know what other breeds have a particularly keen sense of smell? Find out in the video below.