Officials with the Transportation Security Administration say they are hoping to employ more dogs with floppy ears for airport screenings, because pointy-eared canines “scare children,” PEOPLE confirms.
“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.”
The agency isn’t banning or phasing out dogs with cone-shaped ears. Instead, they are hoping to transition to using floppy-eared dogs over the next few years.
“Pointy-eared dogs can be a little ominous, a little intimidating — you generally see that with police dogs or tactical dogs,” Michael Bilello said. “What we’re looking to do is employ more floppy-eared dogs because they’re just not as intimidating. They’re a little more inviting and welcoming. That’s what the airport environment is about.”
He says they are not “retiring” dogs with pointy ears, but will “prefer” floppy-eared canines in the future.
“A capable, trained canine is a valued asset,” he continues. “Clearly, the dog’s capabilities, the dog’s competence is most important.”