ATLANTA — Meet the Beagle Brigade. These dogs are on the frontlines of Homeland Security across the country and even at Charlotte's airport.

So how are they keeping you safe? 

The dogs may be adorable, but they play an important role in keeping you and your family safe. 

There's no question that Murray is a good boy. He's working the international baggage claim area at Atlanta's airport, one of the busiest airports in the world.

"We're what we call America's frontline, the dogs actually spearhead that," K9 Supervisor Ken Hodgkins with Customs and Border Protection said. "We try to keep any fruits or vegetables, meats out that have diseases."

Murray is a member of the Beagle Brigade, an elite team of detector dogs who sniff out plants, meats, and animal products. There's a whole lot of Murrays across the United States and in Charlotte that make up the Beagle Brigade.

The dogs work to keep us all safe from anything getting in the country that could destroy the food supply.

"It's very effective, these dogs can find up to 25 seizures a day from different passengers," Hodgkins said.

Beagle Brigade used at airports to protect food supply

"You can tell they're very, very excited to do what they're doing," a traveler named Hope said.

Hope didn't even mind when Murray sold her out – he sniffed out the apple she'd packed as a snack, and of course, he got a treat for doing it.

It's a sweet life for a dog who almost didn't make it.

"He was very playful when I met him but I noticed that half of his left ear is missing and seems like tail a little bit shorter," his handler Amabele Gella said. 

Gella is an Agriculture Specialist and K-9 Enforcement Officer with Homeland Security. She said Murray was in bad shape. 

Someone had cut part of Murray's ear and tail and left him on the street. He was rescued from a kill shelter in Georgia and sent for special training to work with customs and border patrol.

"When he first came to us we had some reservations – is he gonna be able to make it back from that traumatic prior life that he had? He's one of our best dogs now," Hodgkins said.

In fact, almost all the dogs on the Beagle Brigade are rescues.

"He is living his best life," Gella said.

The dogs are retired when they turn 9, and their handlers have the option of taking them home as pets.

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