The dog days are over for some four-legged employees as far as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is concerned. The TSA is currently working on getting rid of pointy-eared dogs and replacing them with dogs with floppy ears. What’s the reason behind the pooch swap? It turns out that dogs with pointy ears have been leaving the public feeling agitated. Children have been especially wary when encountering pointy-ear dogs at airports around the country.
The TSA currently uses 1,200 canines as part of its security protocols. Somewhere around 80 percent of the canines used by the TSA have droopy ears. Only 20 percent have what can be described as pointy, cone-shaped ears. Swapping out the 20 percent actually won’t be that big of a hassle for the TSA. That’s because dogs retire from the agency on nearly a daily basis. The agency’s aging population of working pooches is about to hit a burst in retirements. That’s good news for the TSA because it can use this moment in time as an opportunity to phase out dogs with pointed ears at a natural, non-rushed pace.
The TSA has been working diligently throughout the last 12 months to bring in more dogs with non-pointy ears. In fact, 80 percent of the dogs purchased by the TSA in the past 12 months were procured from vendors that offer sporting breeds. There’s no shortage of availability when it comes to sporting breeds at the moment. Breeders are increasingly producing sporting breeds throughout the country.
What exactly does the TSA use canines for? A large percentage of TSA dogs are used to screen passengers at airports. Other dogs are actually certified for sniffing around for explosives on or inside baggage. It costs anywhere from $26,000 to $42,000 to fully train and certify one dog. While the TSA is making an effort to only use breeds that appear friendly to people, that doesn’t mean that people should actually get friendly with the TSA’s dogs. People visiting airports should never approach TSA dogs. That’s because a dog could be hard at work on a specific task that has to do with the safety of airport guests and airline passengers. However, dog lovers aren’t out of luck when it comes to adoring TSA pooches. The TSA actually prints baseball-inspired cards for each dog. Canine handlers at airports hand those cards out to children and adults. All you have to do is ask!