The beagle patrolling Toronto Pearson International Airport was prowling for the subtle scents of contraband when an unexpected odor tickled its olfactory receptors. The source was the luggage of a Canadian man who had just returned from Russia.
The dog knew what to do next and plonked down next to the traveler—sending a signal to Canada Border Services Agency personnel that something was amiss.
Officials peered inside the man’s bags and found hundreds of containers filled with slimy, writhing objects — 5,000 live leeches. It was October 17, 2018, and the trusty beagle had helped authorities snag Canada’s first known leech “smuggler.”…
The incident, revealed here for the first time, is not yet part of the public record. The man was charged with illegally importing an internationally regulated species without the required permits, says André Lupert, manager of intelligence for the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate at Environment and Climate Change Canada…the man is awaiting a court hearing next month in the greater Toronto area. To protect his privacy and because the investigation is ongoing, the Canada Border Services Agency said they can’t share his name or other details of the incident—including the dog’s name or even the dog’s sex.
He has an excuse. He says he wasn’t trying to hide the fact he had a suitcase full of leeches. They are the sort of leeches used [rarely] for medical purposes; but, those are regulated and typically require an import permit.