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Bomb-sniffing dog Eebbers voted “Cutest Dog of 2022” by TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Eebbers, an 11-year-old explosives detection dog based in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) in St. Paul, Minnesota was voted the winner of the 2022 TSA Cutest Canine Contest.

2022 Cutest Dog Eebbers

TSA recently held a nationwide social media contest on Instagram. Twitter, and Facebook and encouraged the public to vote for the agency’s “cutest dog.” After all the votes were counted, Eebbers emerged as the winner.

The contest was held in recognition of National Dog Day to recognize the important role that TSA’s hardworking dogs play in protecting the nation’s transportation system. The preliminary vote among TSA employees narrowed the field of 92 candidates down to the last four canines.

This year’s winner was one of four TSA canine candidates, which also included Ava and Messi from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Tom-Magnum from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The dogs were nominated by TSA handlers from airports across the country and voted for by dog ‚Äč‚Äčlovers across the country.

Eebbers, a Vizsla-Labrador mix, is a passenger screening dog (PSC) who works at MSP alongside his handler while searching travelers and their belongings for explosives at the security checkpoint as an added layer of security. Eebbers has been with MSP for almost 10 years. He was born into the TSA’s puppy program in Lackland and is remembered for 19-year-old US Army Pvt. James Ebbers who died on October 14, 2002 in Dijbuoti, Africa while assigned to the 551St Military Police Company, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He is the last remaining dog from the puppy program who still works for TSA on a day to day basis.

Eebbers has certainly helped out at two Super Bowls, the Special Olympics World Games, an NCAA National Championship football game, the Indianapolis 500 and a NASCAR event. He stays very active every day, even during the cold Minnesota winters, and loves to swim in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes in the summer.

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Canines to safety

The TSA uses dogs like Eebbers for their security operations across the country. They are trained to detect the smell of explosives or explosive materials. These highly skilled dogs are paired with handlers who utilize the working dog’s keen sense of smell when on duty in busy transportation environments.

Travelers departing, arriving and walking through the country’s airports routinely see PSC teams tending to passengers. These teams skillfully work their way through large groups of people to find the source of a potential explosive. PSC handlers often train with their canines and learn to interpret canine behavior when the dog detects an explosive odor.

When a dog alerts its handler to the presence of an explosive odor, the TSA follows an established procedure to resolve the alarm. The use of these highly trained dogs is a powerful tool to prevent and detect the introduction of explosive devices into the country’s transportation systems.

With explosives known to pose the greatest threat to the aviation system, TSA’s working canines are regularly tested to ensure they maintain a high standard of operational efficiency. This continuous training enables all teams to be a reliable resource when it comes to detecting an explosive threat, maintaining proper acclimatization within the airport, and mitigating potential distractions in a busy transportation environment.

Currently, TSA has more than 1,000 canine teams trained at the TSA Canine Training Center in San Antonio. They are used nationwide. Although TSA’s canine partners are social, they are working dogs and should only be touched and fed by their handlers.

Later this year, TSA will announce the availability of its 2023 Dog Calendar, featuring the top 12 runners-up from the 2022 Cutest Dog contest. Eebers will be the dog on the cover of the 2023 calendar.

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