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Dog Helps County Inspectors Sniff Out Plant Pests

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Some dogs look for bones buried in the yard, but Friday the dog has put an interesting twist on the game – trying to find pests hiding in packages.

Friday is the newest agricultural inspector in the County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.

“Friday works with our inspection team at local shipping facilities, using her heightened sense of smell to find packages with fruit, flowers, or plants in them, which increases our chance of finding pests,” said County Agriculture Commissioner Bob Atkins.

Friday and her handler, County Agricultural/Standards Inspector Jeremy Partch, spend most days at local shipping companies, roaming along conveyor belts filled with packages coming into the county. She paws at a package when she smells plants, flowers, or fruit, waiting for Partch to take a closer look. (Watch Friday at work.)

Friday has already sniffed out over 3,000 such packages, an invaluable skill since a new pest is introduced into California every 60 days, costing the state’s agricultural business about $3 billion dollars in pest control and crop loss.

Friday and Partch are the fifth agricultural detection dog team in California, working in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA selected the dog after rescuing her from a shelter, and then paired her with Partch during ten weeks of training.

Watch Friday at work
More information about local pest control and agriculture

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