Hardy the dog, from the Beagle Brigade, caught a pig’s head in a traveler’s luggage at Atlanta airport's conveyor belt.
It's a crime-stopper achievement that would have likely make Snoopy proud, although chances are the animated Peanuts canine would prefer to have eaten the evidence at the scene of the crime rather than point it out to authorities.
The evidence in question was a roasted pig, discovered on Thursday by Hardy, a beagle on duty for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, during its shift at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Passengers, by law, have to declare any food products to border protection officials, who then inspect the goods. That certainly wasn't the case here.
When the baggage was being paraded through the conveyor belt, Hardy discovered that things were smelling a bit fishy, or in this case, porky, with one suitcase. That's when his nose went into high gear and Hardy found the two-pound roast.
Border protection staff, as part of their protocol, consider such items a security risk. And while it can be argued that almost anything in the U.S. these days could be perceived as a threat to America's security, in this case, the authorities had a legitimate concern.
Undeclared food items getting past airport scrutiny could contain pests and animal diseases that can affect the health of its citizens and the agricultural economy. Pork in particular brought from outside the U.S. runs the risk of containing viruses and bacteria that could cause foot and mouth disease as well as swine fever.
That's where security staff heavily rely on animals like Hardy, part of the border protection's K-9 unit affectionately called the Beagle Brigade. Hardy's been on the job for six years and given that Hartsfield-Jackson is recognized as the busiest airport in the world, his nasal talents are especially critical on site.
In this case, the pig, weighing in at two lbs. and already cooked, arrived via Ecuador. When it was seized, authorities destroyed the potential main course. Hardy probably would have loved to have noshed on the beast, but only managed to get a few sniffs. Which was probably just as well, seeing that the intercepted meal could have been harmful to the working dog's health. Hopefully, he got a reward that was just as tasty.