Friday, April 25, 2008

The TSA Puppy Program

TSA announced in March we were going to be training and deploying TSA employee-led canine teams. Since then, we’ve had two classes graduate at Lackland Air Force base. That’s 18 K-9s!

The deployment of additional explosives detection canine teams will significantly enhance TSA’s threat readiness and response capabilities at air cargo facilities nationwide. There are currently 500 K-9 teams in the field. Over the next two years the TSA plans to add 400 more teams. Of those teams, 85 will be TSA-led teams while the rest will be TSA-certified teams through our law enforcement partnership program.

Before our dogs can go through this training, they have to get through their puppy stages. You know… biting, barking, jumping, begging, digging and so forth. (My knuckleheaded dog is six and still does all of that) We have established a “puppy foster family” program to help accomplish the task of socializing our future bomb sniffers, and we’ve event sent some puppies to prison. I’m only kind of joking… they’re not bad and they’re not being punished. Like the puppies with the foster families, they are spending time every day socializing with people and getting used to sights and sounds and smells of their new unexplored surroundings.

The puppies are booked into the Travis County State Jail in Austin for a year and are cared for and offered companionship by prisoners on good behavior. It’s a win-win for all involved. The puppy foster family program is similar to puppy prison except the families are not paying a debt to society.

So if you’re interested, you either need to live in the San Antonio/Austin, Texas area or get locked up at the state pokey. (Make sure you stay on good behavior)

Shepherds, Belgian Malanoises, Labs, Vizslas and other types of dogs are used in the program because of their super sniffers and a successful history for this type of work. Each dog that is born into the TSA breeding program is named after a 9/11 victim.

The TSA provides all food, toys, veterinary care and kennels. Make sure you visit the puppy program Web page if you’re interested.

TSA EoS Blog Team