U.S. Transportation Security Administration adds more bomb dogs www.privateofficer.com
Washington DC Aug 23 2011 The number of bomb-sniffing dogs raised and trained by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has more than quadrupled in the past 10 years. From less than 200 in 2001, the number has reached more than 800 canines.
The TSA plans to add 200 more dogs every year.
Scott Thomas, program manager of the TSA Canine Breeding and Development Center at Lackland Air Force Base, said that the program seeks to train more dogs as the TSA’s success in sniffing out bombs in airports, mass transit centers and armed forces has tremendously risen since 9/11.
Part of the program involves genetic research on puppies to identify and nurture vital canine traits.
In 2007, the TSA and Texas Department of Criminal Justice launched a program that allowed a select group of prisoners to care for puppies that will later be tapped as explosives detection dogs.
Four TSA-bred puppies were housed in the Travis County State Jail in Austin for one year. The inmates were responsible for feeding, cleaning and socializing the puppies.
Thomas then said that the jail is an ideal environment to socialize the puppy-trainees with different sights, sounds and smell similar to what they will encounter in a transportation environment.
The training aims to prevent phobias from developing in the puppies. That could be achieved by requiring them to explore noisy gateways and aircraft, go underneath trains and be exposed to war zone which often abound with improvised explosive devices.