Why the TSA Prefers Dogs With Floppy Ears Rather Than Pointy Ones

Mark Mainz, Getty Images
Mark Mainz, Getty Images

When the Transportation Security Administration “hires” dogs to work at passenger screening zones in airports, its employees will be checking for one specific physical trait. Do the dog's ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? If so, they just might be the right dog for the job.

According to ABC News, the TSA will now give priority to floppy-eared dogs over pointy-eared ones, but only in sections of the airport where passengers and bags are screened. That’s because the new policy has nothing to do with differences in how the breeds perform (there are none) and everything to do with how comfortable passengers feel around the dogs.

David Pekoske, head of the TSA, says floppy-eared dogs like Labrador and golden retrievers tend to be perceived as friendlier and less threatening than pointy-eared dogs like German shepherds, even if this isn't rooted in reality. The TSA noticed that Labs have a calming effect on travelers—especially children—while German shepherds often do the opposite.

“You'll see parents kind of pull their kids away from a dog with pointy ears because, I think, we as a culture recognize that as a tactical dog or a police dog," TSA assistant administrator Michael Bilello tells ABC News.

However, that doesn’t mean the pointy-eared pooches will be out of a job soon. Bilello says the “health and operational capabilities” of a dog are still more important than the shape of her ears, and no dog will be removed from its current post due to the new policy. The only change is that floppy-eared dogs, if available, will be given preference for openings in passenger screening areas. Roughly four in five recent canine recruits have ears that fall flat, and this is a ratio the TSA hopes to stick with.

According to The Washington Post, the TSA uses about 1200 dogs of seven different breeds for passenger screening purposes. Only two of those breeds—German shepherds and Belgian Malinoises—have pointy ears.

[h/t ABC]

Rhode Island Approves Bill to Create an Animal Abuser Registry

iStock/Kerkez
iStock/Kerkez

In what could be a major step toward curbing animal cruelty, Rhode Island just passed a bill requiring convicted abusers to be placed on a statewide registry. The objective? To make sure they don’t adopt another animal.

According to KUTV, the bill was approved by the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Thursday and is awaiting Senate approval. Under the law, anyone convicted of abusing an animal would be required to pay a $125 fee and register with the database. The collection of names will be made available to animal shelters and adoption agencies, which will be required to check the registry before adopting out any pets. If the prospective owner’s name appears, they will not be permitted to adopt the animal.

Convicted abusers have five days to register, either from the time of their conviction if no jail time is mandated or from the time of their release. The prohibition on owning another animal lasts 15 years. If they're convicted a second time, they would be banned for life.

A number of communities across the country have enacted similar laws in recent years, including Hillsborough County in Florida, Cook County in Illinois, and New York City. The state of Louisiana was fielding a bill last week, but the proposal was ultimately pulled from committee consideration after a critical response from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The group’s policy statement argues that registries are costly to maintain, not often utilized by adoption centers, and don’t address the potential for abusers to find animals in other ways. The group also asserts that registries may influence potential convictions, as defendants and their legal representation might plea to lesser charges to avoid being placed in the database. The ASPCA instead recommends court-mandated no-contact orders for convicted animal abusers.

[h/t KUTV]

This Inflatable Sloth Pool Float Is the Perfect Accessory for Lazy Summer Days

SwimWays
SwimWays

Summer is the perfect time to channel your inner sloth. Even if you don't plan on sleeping 15 to 20 hours a day, you can take inspiration from the animal's lifestyle and plan to move as little as possible. This supersized sloth pool float from SwimWays, spotted by Romper, will help you achieve that goal.

It's hard not to feel lazy when you're being hugged by a giant inflatable sloth. This floating pool chair is 50 inches long, 40 inches tall, and 36 inches wide, with two "arms" to support you as you lounge in the water.

One of the sloth's paws includes a built-in cup holder, so you don't have to expend any extra energy by getting up in order to stay hydrated. Unlike some pool floats, this accessory allows you to sit upright—which means you can drink, read, or talk to the people around you without straining your neck.

The sloth floatie is available for $35 on Amazon or Walmart. SwimWays also makes the same product in different animal designs, including a panda and a teddy bear. And if you're looking for a pool accessory that gives you even more room to spread out, this inflatable dachshund float may be just what you need.

People sitting in animal pool floats.
SwimWays

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