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Bomb-sniffing Dog/human Teams Growing

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) — The number of bomb-sniffing dogs since the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 has grown dramatically, officials said.

Before those attacks there were fewer than 200 dog-handler teams looking for explosives at airports and train stations — that number has now increased to more than 800 — and the search for new dogs is ongoing, USA Today reported Monday.

Most dogs can detect explosives, but it takes a special dog to be able to continue searching amid rubble and loud noises, a Transportation Security Administration official said.

One dog TSA officials believe has the right stuff is a black Lab puppy named Dolan.

“We took him [Dolan] recently to New York City to be on a news show, and he traveled in airplanes and walked down busy streets,” said Scott Thomas, program manager of the Canine Breeding and Development Center at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

“They all have good enough noses to smell the explosives,” Thomas said, “but can they continue to find the bomb when there’s gunfire, loud noises, and other scary things happening?”

About half of the dogs trained in San Antonio go on to wear the TSA vest, Thomas said.

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