A couple of news stories have dogged me this week.
First, the TSA has determined that travelers—particularly children—find floppy-eared dogs less threatening than pointy-eared dogs:
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency is also making at least one new change to reduce traveler stress: deploying more floppy-ear dogs, rather than pointy-ear dogs, to sniff out explosives in public areas.
During a recent tour of Washington Dulles International Airport, Pekoske told the Washington Examiner that his agency believes floppy-ear dogs are less intimidating to travelers than dogs with pointy ears.
“We find the passenger acceptance of floppy-ear dogs is just better,” he said. “It presents just a little bit less of a concern. Doesn’t scare children.”
The agency says it trains seven breeds of dogs: German shepherds (pointy ears), Labrador retrievers (floppy ears), German shorthaired pointers (floppy ears), wirehaired pointers (floppy ears), Vizslas (floppy ears), Belgian Malinois (pointy ears) and golden retrievers (floppy ears).
Because of the federal shutdown, TSA representatives could not be reached to comment on how the agency will transition to more floppy-ear dogs.
Meanwhile, a new California law taking effect tomorrow allows divorce judges to take into account the best interests of family pets, rather than just treating pets as personal property as has been the law since time immemorial:
The law was sponsored by dog owner and state Assembly member Bill Quirk and signed by dog lover Gov. Jerry Brown (Lucy, a borgie, is the state's first dog and Cali, a bordoodle, is the first deputy dog). The measure empowers judges to consider "the care of the pet animal" and create shared custody agreements.
The law "makes clear that courts must view pet ownership differently than the ownership of a car, for example. By providing clearer direction, courts will award custody on what is best for the animal," Quirk said after the bill was signed.
Legal experts said the law means judges can take into consideration factors like who walks, feeds and plays with the pet when deciding who the animal should live with.
Now, I'm pretty sure pets are still personal property under the law, and won't get treated like people. But who's a dog-friendly state? Who's a dog-friendly state? Is California a dog-friendly state? Yes it is! California is a dog-friendly state! Good legislature! Good governor!