Dog tapped for African swine fever prevention in Cebu

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, October 3) — The Philippine Coast Guard-Central Visayas on Thursday got a new addition to its workforce — a pork-sniffing dog to prevent the entry of African swine fever in Cebu.

Porky Pochie, an 18-month-old golden retriever, was the first dog trained to detect packages containing pork and pork products even if they are wrapped in several layers of bags or boxes, PCG Central Visayas spokesperson Michael John Encina said. The dog was trained for two months and will be randomly deployed in several Cebu ports on eight-hour shifts.

Porky Pochie can also locate narcotics, he said.

Cebu has imposed a temporary ban on live pigs, pork and pork products from Luzon, where there are several areas affected by swine fever. The ASF scare, which started in early September after the swine virus was detected in three areas in Rizal and Bulacan, has prompted cities and provinces to temporarily bar entry of live hogs and pork products from ASF-hit areas

Thirty more dogs with similar capabilities will be deployed by the PCG central office throughout the country soon, the spokesman said.

The PCG Central Visayas is part of the ASF Task Force formed through the executive order of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Mindanao Development Authority is seeking help from the police to prevent the swine virus from entering the southern Philippines.

He made the request following reports that live hogs, pork and pork products from countries and areas affected by swine fever are still being transported in Mindanao despite the temporary ban.

All areas of Luzon are under close monitoring as authorities try to contain an outbreak of the swine illness in the country.