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Agriculture-sniffing dogs help safeguard nation's crops

From the Lodi, CA News

test4Agriculture-sniffing dog visits San Joaquin County, Lodi

Kojak, an agriculture-sniffing dog with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is in San Joaquin County because the potentially harmful Oriental fruit fly was detected in September in south Lodi and north Stockton.

The fly is potentially harmful to tomatoes, bell peppers and cherries.

Kojak is one of 13 dogs in California trained to sniff out and mark incoming parcels that contain fruit, vegetables and other plant matter to prevent pests from invading local agriculture.

Tom Doud, senior agricultural biologist for the county and Kojak’s handler, said Kojak monitors more than 5,000 packages per day.

“Trust me, this dog could get into the refrigerator,” Doud said.

California is the only state to use agriculture-sniffing dogs to detect potentially harmful incoming packages, according to Doud. In 2009, the dog teams intercepted more than 39,000 packages.

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