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Members of Beagle Brigade get pat on the head


WASHINGTON -- Before a crowd of wagging tails and wet noses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture honored some of its best workers yesterday: the Beagle Brigade, the airport dogs that sniff out food being smuggled into the country.

For a decade now, the USDA's beagles have been finding smuggled food that could be carrying plant or animal diseases. Yesterday, the department honored their service -- and seldom have federal workers seemed so frisky.

Abbott, the friendly dog who works at Miami International Airport, licked the face of Agriculture Secretary-designate Dan Glickman. Another beagle barked each time a USDA official was introduced.

In all, 11 USDA beagles attended the event. They were lauded for "great noses, sunny dispositions, green jackets and lots of hair."

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