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TSA K-9 handler relieved of duties after viral video shows aggressive behavior toward dog

Video of an explosive detection K-9 being handled aggressively inside a Detroit Metropolitan Airport terminal caused outrage on the TSA’s Twitter account



By Jackie Martin
Press & Guide

DETROIT — Video footage of a Detroit Metropolitan Airport canine being repeatedly jerked by his leash while walking with its handler has gone viral and the man being aggressive with the dog has been relieved of his duties.

According to a statement from the Transportation Security Administration on the incident that occurred Sunday, travelers and others viewing the footage began speaking out against the treatment of the, calling his treatment of the dog “harsh” and “uncalled for behavior.”

Some are even going so far as to call for the handler’s job.

A response from the administration came swiftly.

“Video showing a TSA explosive detection canine handler aggressively pulling a dog working in a Detroit Metropolitan Airport terminal was shared with local leadership this morning,” the statement said. “The behavior displayed by this handler is unacceptable and not within the high standard we held our officers to. TSA officials at DTW have removed the employee from handling duties pending completion of an investigation, and directed that the canine be taken immediately to a veterinarian for a wellness exam.”

On the video, the handler can be seen walking back and forth in a pacing pattern.

Each time the handler pivots to turn he yanks the dog’s leash, pulling the dog in a different direction.

On the final turn shown on the video, the dog is pulled so hard it nearly leaves its feet.

He appears to be oblivious to anyone who might be watching.

Many are calling into question the dog, as well as the handler’s training.

Airport dogs typically have extensive training before going to work at metro.

There is no word from the TSA statement addressing their training or if there has ever been an issue prior to this incident.

The agency posted its statement on its Twitter account just after 9 a.m. Monday.

It had nearly 74,000 views by the afternoon.

The following questions were asked, and statements made, to TSA, but there was no public response:

  • Can you provide more updates on the dog and who is caring for him/her?
  • Is there any statement on consequences?
  • Thank you for taking action. What we saw yesterday was despicable.
  • I’ll adopt the dog. Anything to keep it safe. Heck, I’d take that job to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
  • Please update us on how this precious fur baby is doing. Extremely concerned for his well being, care and treatment.
  • We will be watching.

State Rep. Jamie Thompson (R-28th District) posted on the TSA account with a statement of her own.

Listed it as her official statement, Thompson said the following:

“This disturbing video of a detection dog being aggressively pulled by its handler at Detroit Metro Airport has come to my attention. These dogs spend much of their lives keeping travelers and fellow airport staff safe, so this video was very troubling.

Since this involved a TSA agent, Detroit Metro has referred this matter to TSA and they are investigating. In response to news reports, TSA has said the employee in the video has been removed from handling duties pending the completion of the investigation. I will continue to monitor this situation. People and families across our region frequent Detroit Metro every day, and it’s important to make sure proper protocols are being followed.”

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