TSA will now employ floppy-eared dogs because pointy-ear dogs 'scare children'
The Transportation Security Administration, famous for scaring passengers with their intrusive, even sexually suggestive searches, has decided to become kinder and gentler.
They are getting rid of pointy-eared dogs in favor of floppy-eared canines because droopy ears don't "scare children."
We’ve made a conscious effort in TSA ... to use floppy ear dogs," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said during a recent tour of operations at Washington Dulles International Airport northern Virginia.
"We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern," Pekoske said. "Doesn’t scare children."
Now they can start working on hiring humans who don't scare children - or anyone else.
Around 80 percent of the 1,200 canines TSA uses nationwide are ones with droopy ears, versus 20 percent that have cone-shaped ones.
TSA employs the second-highest number of dogs of any federal agency. Dogs retire daily from the agency this year due to the force's aging population, but TSA is using it as an opportunity to grow its floppy ear population, which are technically classified as sporting or hunting breeds.
Over the past 12 months, 80 percent of the dogs TSA purchased from vendors were sporting breeds. Christopher Shelton, branch manager of the TSA canine training center in San Antonio, Texas, said part of the reason TSA has purchased more "sporting" dogs is because breeders are increasingly raising these types of dogs.
Any reasonably intelligent dog can be trained to assist the TSA. The agency uses five types of sporting breeds: Labrador Retrievers, German Short-haired Pointers, Wirehaired Pointers, Vizslas, and Golden Retrievers. It also uses two types of pointy-ear, or working breed, dogs: the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.
The public has more contact with TSA than just about any other agency of the federal government. For many travelers, it doesn't matter if a dog has pointy or droopy ears because they are scared of all dogs. Are pointy-ear dogs more scary?
I love German Shepherds, perhaps the most handsome dog around. I can see where some people might be intimidated by them, but isn't that the point? I have yet to meet a golden or black lab who can truly be intimidating. They'd rather play with you than bite you.
I suppose as long as the dogs can do the job, the breed doesn't matter.