These TSA Reject Dogs Are Too Good for the Government Anyway

These conscientious objector puppies won't be part of the TSA's security theater or the war on drugs, so they can be your snuggle-buddy instead.


PICANI imageBROKER/Newscom

They're good dogs, Brent.

So good, in fact, that they've been rejected by various government agencies for being too nice, too snuggly, and too interested in what's-that-you-got-there-is-it-food. Or maybe they've simply decided that they're not going to be a part of the humans' airport security theatrics and failed war on drugs, no matter how many Scooby snacks they might be passing up by dropping out.

Either way, we can all agree that there's something adorable and principled about a mutt that didn't make the cut. If a dog that took one look at the endless bureaucracy and terrifying police state of modern government, then turned tail and ran sounds like a companion you'd want, well, good news! Business Insider has a useful rundown of the ways to adopt dogs that failed police K-9 training, Transportation Security Administration terrorist-sniffing class, and other puppers-on-pawtrol programs.

How did those dogs end up getting the boot? Insider reports that some are too nervous, some are just too doggone nice, and others "are more interested in snugs than drugs." Like Gavel, the German Sheppard pup who briefly became an internet sensation last year when he got cut from K-9 training in Australia for not having "the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line."

Which is a nice way of saying that Gavel was a bit of a mess.

Closer to home, the TSA's dog adoption program offers the chance to adopt a dog that would rather chew on your shoes than watch you remove them and put them in the bin. Sure, the TSA might have an annual budget that's bigger than Monaco's GDP, might have never stopped an actual terrorist, and might routinely allow all sorts of dangerous items to get onto planes, but now you can't say they've never done anything worthwhile.

Of course, the dogs that do end up serving the state are good dogs too. Being dogs, they are probably not familiar with Jacob Sullum's 2013 Reason cover story about just how often drug-sniffing dogs get it wrong—nine times out of 10, in one experiment—and many ways in which humans' civil liberties have been curtailed by those "search warrants on leashes." It is humans who have written laws giving police dogs (and, really, their human handlers) too much authority. Bad humans!

Luckily, for both humans and freedom-loving doggos, the Supreme Court has recently placed a few small limitations on how drug-sniffing dogs can be used.

Even the most hard-hearted, cynical libertarian can't help but have a soft spot for these canine conscientious objectors—dogs that would rather lick faces than boots. The TSA says it has "an extensive waiting list" for adoptions, but groups like Freedom Service Dogs of America and Service Dogs Inc. can connect drop-out service dogs with new homes.

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  1. TreasonNN is white knighting for government agent trash animals? What a surprise! This is why no one comes here anymore.

  2. OT: Arizona cop filmed office sex on body cam, stored pornography: lawsuit claims

    The flash drive was discovered by an office secretary connected to Doran’s computer, which allegedly contained a folder titled “fun times.” A deputy subsequently discovered 36 gigabytes worth of photos on the folder, including pornography and a naked girl around the age of five, the report said.

    Doran told The Republic that he had stored both the video and the pornography on a flash drive that “had nothing to do with work,” and denied being on duty when he filmed himself. Doran said the naked girl was his daughter and was not photographed in a sexual manner, the paper said. Superior’s town manager fired Doran following the investigation.


  3. Kimberly Guilfoyle’s nickname for Donald Trump Jr. is Junior Mint

    We’re told the former Fox News host addressed the presidential offspring as Junior Mint (seemingly a reference to his bank account, although insiders claimed it has nothing to do with money).

    Apparently Don Jr. calls her ? somewhat less inventively ? Pooh Bear.

    My guesses as to why: Don Jr. once unknowingly saved a man’s life post-surgery, and Kim likes to go shirt-cunting.

  4. Excellent post, Eric.

  5. Even the most hard-hearted, cynical libertarian can’t help but have a soft spot for these canine conscientious objectors

    Well, I suppose the orphans in the monocle mines *could* use a bit of cheering up.

    1. Orphans tend to work harder when they’re in a good mood, plus you can use the puppies to motivate them. Kind of like a productivity bonus except instead of money they get 5 minutes to play with the puppy if they meet certain quotas.

      1. Conversely, threaten to shoot the puppies if production falls below a certain threshold. Incorporating both positive and negative reinforcement is critical to raising well-adjusted orphan mine-workers.

      2. Bonus: Once they outgrow their cuteness you can grind them up for orphan chow.

        I’ll leave it to others to decide whether I’m referring to the puppies, orphans or both.

        1. Whichever leads to the most efficient outcome and maximizes profits, I assume.

  6. Dogs should not be used by the police or any law enforcement organization. It is animal abuse.

    1. Bomb sniffing dogs?

      Some dog breeds like the sense of purpose, BTW. Dogs that like their jobs act happy to do it. Dogs that dont like act sad and misbehave.

      Animal abuse is in the eye of the beholder. We eat all sorts of animals, cut off the balls (to neuter) of pets, cut out the uterus (to spay) of pets, keep big dogs in tiny apartments, force tiny dogs to not shit in purses which being out with owners, use rabbits to test makeup, monkeys to test medicine….

      Humans are hypocrites about what animal abuse is. If we neuter is NOT animal abuse, if its getting a dog to use its excellent sense of smell to sniff out bomb material than it IS animal abuse.

      1. Bomb sniffing dogs, like drug sniffing dogs, are about as useful and reliable as Amorosa’s word.

        Besides, show me where there is any affirmative grant of authority given the federal government to use dogs in the constitution. You know there is no such text and any argument from implied powers or government has a legitimate power to “protect” us is only so much progressive / totalitarian claptrap.

        1. Use dogs to search and end run the 4A? That is against the Constitution as all searches require a warrant based upon probable cause.

          Once the state has a valid warrant, use a dog. Use a robot. Use a thermal imaging camera. Whatever. Just get a warrant first.

          The constitution lays out the authority for the state to use any means necessary to search once they have a warrant.

          Its like the War Powers Clause, does not limit what kind of force the USA can use in war but there must be a Congressional DoW and/or letter of marque or reprisal.

  7. I read once about a dog that was being used by American troops in Afghanistan. It was trained to go out ahead of patrols and sniff out IUDs. Once it found one, it was supposed to . . . well, long story short, it was supposed to put itself in harm’s way.

    One day, some of the guy’s on patrol started taking pot shots at stray dogs ’cause they were bored, or whatever. The military dog saw this and freaked out about it. The dog’s whole demeanor changed on patrol.

    The trained took him back to do exercises and they quickly realized that the dog was no longer willing to point out IUDs or sit down on them. The dog had completely lost faith in their concern for his welfare.

    I rescued a dog that used to sit with its face a couple inches away from my nose while I was sleeping. Every morning, when I opened my eyes, this dog would be sitting there staring down at me from an inch or two away from my nose. She wanted to be fed so badly that she wanted to be there the second I woke up, but she didn’t want to wake me up out of . . . how can that be described as anything other than “courtesy”.

    The idea that a dog can be courteous is both amazing and disturbing. Amazing how emotionally sophisticated a dog can be. Disturbing to realize that all the times that dog did things that made a mess, etc., it wasn’t because the dog was incapable of courtesy. Rather, she did it because she just didn’t give a shit.

    1. Found it!

      “Out of the 58 bomb-sniffing dogs the Marines have in Afghanistan, only one?a brown-eyed, floppy-eared yellow Lab named Gunner?is suffering from such severe canine post-traumatic stress disorder that he had to sit out the ongoing offensive in central Helmand Province.

      “He’s the only combat-ineffective dog out here,” says his kennel chief, Cpl. Chad McCoy.

      Like their human comrades, some war dogs can handle combat, and some can’t. One Marine Corps explosives dog, a black Lab named Daisy, has found 13 hidden bombs since arriving in Afghanistan in October. Zoom, another Lab, refused to associate with the Marines after seeing one serviceman shoot a feral Afghan dog.…..0790295570

      The story is from eight years ago. Some stories stick with you.

    2. Yes, I know the difference between IUDs and IEDs.

      It’s early. Give me a break.

    3. You know who else put themselves in harm’s way by sniffing out IUDs?

      1. The current POTUS?

    4. how can that be described as anything other than “courtesy”.

      Desire to remain unmurdered? Unless I fell asleep on the couch or was camping outside or whatever (otherwise in the dog’s ‘domain’), whether it knows it or not, that dog isn’t waking me up because it doesn’t want to get murdered.

      1. I was going to go the other way, based on Ken’s observation the dog was hungry. If Ken ever goes into a deep enough sleep or croaks off, I think he’s puppy chow.

  8. So BOMB sniffing dogs are not worth the security theater?

    Come on Reason, really? There should be zero security for airplane travel with all the people wanting to kill Americans?
    What better way than to get a few hundred Americans in one location, unarmed, and unable to run away.

    1. 1. Using dogs for searching is a way to get around the Fourth Amendment. It is a search-but-not-really-a-search, and dogs can’t be cross-examined in court. As such we should all be very suspicious and leery about their use.

      2. When has a bomb-sniffing dog ever found actual bombs at airports? I’m genuinely curious. I am sure the answer is perhaps more than zero, but I’m willing to bet not much more than zero. And, what is their accuracy rate?

      3. You know where else there are a few THOUSAND Americans in one location, unable to run away? Every college football gameday in ever college town. (Armed or unarmed doesn’t really matter, you can’t use a gun to defend yourself against a bomb.) And the security protocols at your typical D1 college football stadium aren’t as strict as at an airport. The state deliberately overstates the threat of terrorism in order to take away our rights.

      So no one here is actually pro-terrorism but I would hope that people here would be very vigilant against threats to our liberty declared necessary in the name of fighting terrorism.

      1. 1. Drug sniffing dogs are used as an excuse to end run the 4A, but its the process of not requiring a warrant on ALL searches that needs to be the changed. If you have a warrant, then use a dog.

        2. You dont know but you’re assuming its zero? I have worked with military working dogs. They can find bomb material super easy. They can find trespasser on US Gov property and they can find drugs super easy.

        3. If you dont understand the difference, I just cannot help you. I can get my gun from my vehicle and shoot the shooter. Or I can drive away or run away.

        Your counter points are just sad. Give it more thought next time.

        Since you’re usually a goober about discussion, I DO NOT WANT THE USA TO BE THE POLICE STATE THAT IT IS.

      2. 1. Using dogs for searching is a way to get around the Fourth Amendment.

        Searching people before they get onto a private plane is not generally considered “unreasonable”.

        Having said that, I think we should completely privatize the air travel system, including airports and security. In that case, the private operators can certainly search you in any way they want, or not at all, before you board your plane.

    2. There should be zero security for airplane travel with all the people wanting to kill Americans?

      I’ll take “arguments that the author didn’t actually make for 100, Alex.”

      1. True. I was asking if that was also the person’s position.

        I’ll take ‘followup questions that I cannot ask, says Cynical A’ for 1000, Alex.

        Daily Double

  9. How did those dogs end up getting the boot? Insider reports that some are too nervous, some are just too doggone nice,

    some paid too much attention to the gate information, some went to the restroom too much, some slept too much (or too little) on the plane, ….

  10. Drugs dogs? $$$-MONEY-SAVING-SUGGESTION HERE!!!

    HELP-HELP-HELP, won’t someone please give me some good advice?!!? I have a most EXCELLENT tax-money-saving idea that I’d like to put in to the Departments of Our Heroic Protectors in Government Almighty all across the land, and I just don’t know WHERE to submit my brilliant money-saving idea; PLEASE help. Idea summary: REAL drug-sniffing dogs are expensive to train, feed, house, and transport. EFFIGY dogs (think sock-puppet-doggie on officer’s hand) would be FAR less expensive! Officer waves sock-puppet-effigy-dog slowly over car, says wuff-wuff-wuff quietly and softly, then reaches trunk of car, goes WOOF-WOOF-WOOF loudly and urgently, now the car can be searched! Problem solved, cost-effectively! Woo-Hoo!!! ? Now? HOW do we spread this most excellent idea? Please advise? This excellent idea brought to you by the Church of Scienfoology, see ?

  11. Not all dogs are working dogs. Very few have the drive and temperament to perform the required tasks. 98% of dogs are only suitable for pets.The real story is where the TSA got these dogs in the first place, and who made how much money selling them.

    BTW, Eric. It’s German Shepherd. You don’t want to get on the bad side of the GSD people.

  12. Not all dogs are working dogs. Very few have the drive and temperament to perform the required tasks. 98% of dogs are only suitable for pets.The real story is where the TSA got these dogs in the first place, and who made how much money selling them.

    BTW, Eric. It’s German Shepherd. You don’t want to get on the bad side of the GSD people.

    1. Though working squirrels are apparently a real thing.

      1. Yes, My Dog Bites Better Than Yours, I’ll have ye know that my squirrel bites better than yer squirrel, ’cause I am the one and only, mighty, SQRLSY ONE!!! Hear me chitter!!!

    2. Bites you in zee balls, ja?

    3. Not all dogs are working dogs. Very few have the drive and temperament to perform the required tasks. 98% of dogs are only suitable for pets.

      In my experience, most dogs are quite trainable, love working with humans, and make perfectly good working dogs. Of course, there are different temperaments, but there are also different kinds of jobs for dogs.

  13. Attitude being the key component of both success and failure, K9 problems begin with real police officers. They bond with their dogs [who wouldn’t] but then they go a bridge to far: presenting that dog as an officer in and of itself. Judges have bought into this bs, and why I don’t know: a dog has never taken an oath, cannot give or take a deposition, is blissfully unaware of miranda rights, and is impossible to put through even the softest internal review process. A dog is either personal property or the state’s and nothing more. And places like Canton Ohio need to be brought up short. 45 years for shooting a dog… without ever proving he was an officer most likely, but I haven’t read the case of Kelontre Barefield.
    But the fun part of this story? I did stumble upon a few real life ‘man bites dog’ stories elsewhere.

  14. “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.

    Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”

    Groucho Marx

  15. No cats for adoption, though. They’d sell you out in a minute.

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