U.S. Department of Homeland Security seeks to expand its canine workforce


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If you’re a young adult with a good sense of smell and a tough attitude, possess an ‘alert, active, outgoing, confident’ attitude and are ‘extremely tolerant of people,’ the U.S. Department of Homeland Security just might have a job for you.

Oh, and you should be a dog -- preferably a German shepherd, Labrador retriever, golden retriever, Belgian malinois, Dutch shepherd ‘or other working, herding or sporting breeds with prior approval.’


The department, which uses dogs for border security, search-and-rescue work, drug detection and bomb-sniffing, currently staffs about 2,000 animals. It’s looking to expand its canine workforce by about 3,000 over the next five years and recently sent a bid solicitation to a number of small-scale dog breeders around the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said this year that the department is ‘increasing the number of dogs as fast as we can,’ noting dogs’ success at finding narcotics, large quantities of cash and weaponry. Clark Larson, who runs the customs and border agency’s canine program, has said that dogs have saved ‘literally thousands of lives a year’ by finding illegal immigrants who have wandered into areas with insufficient food and water.

Learn more about the Department of Homeland Security’s search for a few (thousand) good dogs in reporter Ken Dilanian’s recent story in The Times.

-- Lindsay Barnett