WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Transportation Security Administration wants the public’s help to determine its cutest K9 in honor of National Dog Day, Monday, August 26.
The TSA Cutest K9 contest features four “top dog” finalists. One of them is Muk from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Voting opened for the general public Friday morning on the TSA Instagram account and closes at midnight. The winner will be announced on Monday on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
TSA’s cutest K9 candidates are (from left to right): “Muk” from Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS); “Figor” from Chicago Midway International Airport (ORD) “Alfie” from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX); and “Donna” from St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL). The K9s were nominated by TSA handlers from airports around the country.
The teams are most often seen at an airport working in the security checkpoint, assisting with the efficiency and effectiveness of TSA’s screening operations.
Because explosives are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system, these highly-trained canines are an effective tool to deter and detect the introduction of explosive materials into the transportation system, the TSA said.
TSA currently has more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams deployed nationwide tasked with screening passengers, cargo, mass-transit and maritime systems and supporting other security missions.
Each dog is specially trained to detect the scent of explosive materials. They are paired with TSA handlers and use their keen sense of smell when working in and around travelers and their belongings in busy transportation environments, including airports.
While TSA canines are sociable, they are working dogs and they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.