Dog training

Beagle Brigade Act would strengthen the training of detector dogs

New Africa | BigStock.com

The bill introduced in the US Senate by the senses. Joni Ernst and Raphael Warnock would explicitly authorize the USDA’s National Detector Dog Training Center

The senses. Americans Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) are co-sponsors of the Beagle Brigade Act, a bipartisan bill that would streamline funding for dogs trained to detect foreign parasites and animal diseases on cargo.

Officially called the National Detector Dog Training Center Act (S.3678), the bill would explicitly authorize the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Detector Dog Training Center, outline the center’s functions and appropriations to support the operations of the center and would require a report. to Congress on center operations and recommendations to build capacity to better protect national agriculture.

The Newnan, Georgia-based center is not explicitly authorized by Congress; instead, the USDA relies on general plant and animal health protection authorities, according to a press release from the Warnock office. Without permission, center funding is inconsistent because it relies on USDA user fees. Congressional authorization would allow federal appropriations directly to the center to ensure continued funding for the training program.

Beagle Brigade dogs and handlers, employed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection ( CBP), are formed in the center.

“Protecting Georgian agriculture is good for our farmers, good for our economy and good for the health of our state,” Warnock said in a press release. “If we are to continue this important work, Congress must pass this bipartisan legislation to give the Beagle Brigade explicit authorization so that it can operate for years with direct support from Congress. I am grateful to these hard working dogs and their trainers for their service to Georgia and our country.

On his office’s website, Ernst expressed concern about the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States and the first cases of African swine fever last summer in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“Farmers in Iowa know the dangers that harmful diseases, like highly pathogenic avian influenza and African swine fever, pose to our state’s agricultural sector and how critical it is to ensure that we do everything our best to keep them out,” she said. “The Beagle Brigade is a key tool in our country’s toolbox to detect these serious diseases before they spread to the United States, and we must ensure that this important program has the proper support to continue its work. .”

The bill was introduced in the US Senate in February and referred to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Both senators are members of the committee.