Senator Raphael Warnock announced the Beagle Brigade Act Tuesday morning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan.

Warnock, along with Iowa’s Joni Ernst, will co-sponsor the bill, which Warnock says would officially authorize and directly fund the Beagle Brigade, a group of dogs tasked with detecting any irregularities in agricultural imports into the country. .

“It’s high time for the center to have the support of Congress,” Warnock said. “The bill will formally authorize the center. It will define, in precise terms, its functions, it will provide appropriations and support from Congress in addition to the fees it already receives, and it will require a report from the center to Congress so that it can continue to ensure that he has everything he needs.”

Warnock toured the center on Tuesday morning, along with Jennifer Moffitt, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, Sherry Williams, associate director of the plant and animal health inspection service for the center, and Hakim Allah, director of the professional development center.

“What I saw there not long ago is a testament to the important work our canine friends do every day with their trainers and handlers,” Warnock said. “This work is critical to protecting our agriculture industry.”

Warnock is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and stressed the importance of the bill to the agriculture industry in the state and beyond.

“As a member of the agriculture committee, this is so important to me and to our farmers here in the state of Georgia,” Warnock said. “These dogs work every day in our various ports to ensure that our agricultural products from international markets are safe for the consumer, thereby protecting us from diseases and pests.”

The National Detector Dog Training Center, which sits on 18 acres of land in the International Park near Highway 34, provides a state-of-the-art learning environment for training detector dogs and their handlers to help to protect American agriculture by preventing agricultural pests and diseases from entering the country through airports, international borders, postal facilities and cargo areas. The center has been in Newnan since 2009, when it was transferred from Orlando.

Beagles and Beagle mixes are used in airports due to their keen sense of smell, non-threatening size, high food intake, and friendliness to the public.

The USDA Beagle Brigade dates back to 1984, when a single beagle was trained and staffed at Los Angeles International Airport to detect plants and animal products in baggage and carry-on baggage arriving on international flights. .