MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Beagle rescued from abuse now detects contraband at Hartsfield-Jackson

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection K9 named Murray detected prohibited holly leaves, nuts and 11 pounds of raw chicken in a traveler’s baggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Murray made the big find Feb. 12, when he alerted to the suitcases of a traveler flying into Atlanta from Ecuador.

Murray the beagle at Hartsfield-Jackson. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

One of Murray’s colleagues, a K9 named Chevee, got suspicious about a passenger’s checked bags on a Feb. 5 flight from Ecuador. An inspection revealed fruit, tomatoes and 22 pounds of pork sausage. And in late January, a Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist found lemons, seeds and the destructive Khapra beetle in wheat in the luggage of a family flying from Saudi Arabia. 

The seized food was destroyed and the travelers given a warning for not declaring agriculture products.

Murray has a special history chronicled by the AJC: He was three years old when he joined the Beagle Brigade at Hartsfield-Jackson, after being rescued from abuse.

He had an injured tail, half an ear missing and was timid and scared.

Murray with his foster mom Claudette Towe. Alcovy Pet Rescue

But he went through training, made the cut and joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection about a year ago.

Murray the beagle when he joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Source: CBP
MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
MARCH 16, 2017 NEWNAN U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist Amabelle Gella and “Murray,” K9 Beagle, perform a search during a demonstration at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Murray was rescued in the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter after sustaining obvious injuries. After his rescue, he was trained as an agriculture detector dog through the USDA. He'll work at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.
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