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Dogs will screen passengers for explosives at Lambert Airport

K9 Inspector Jasmine Bourne and her partner, Eette, screen a traveler's luggage at Lambert Airport.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Bomb-sniffing dogs will begin screening travelers for explosives at Lambert Airport in the next few weeks.  

The Transportation Security Administration announced plans Tuesday to expand its canine program in St. Louis.

The presence of the dogs among passengers does not mean the airport faces any new danger, said Missouri’s TSA Security Director Jim Spriggs.

“It’s taken us several years where we can get to the point where we can deploy them at the number of airports that we wanted to,” he said. “So now were up to about 100 airports – the biggest airports we got first and we’re just finishing off some airports that we didn’t get to on the first wave of deployments.”

The new canine teams will supplement dogs already serving St. Louis’ police department which screen luggage, items and areas, but not passengers, said Spriggs.

While he couldn’t specify how many dogs will be deployed, Spriggs said there will be enough to cover peak operations at both terminals by early summer.

TSA Canine Inspector Jasmine Bourne will be working with Eette, a yellow Labrador and Hungarian vizsla mix.

“We purposely got sporting breeds for this job, for the perception that they’re a lot friendlier,” said Bourne but asked that airport visitors please not pet the animals.