Citing repeated close calls between pets and 20 or so dogs that patrol LAX for bombs, drugs and other contraband, the city of Los Angeles is considering requiring pet owners to crate their animals at the airport.
In a report to the city's police commission, Chief William Bratton said unrestrained domestic pets routinely "lash out" at trained dogs that patrol LAX for the LAPD, the federal Transportation Security Administration and the airport's separate police force.
In answer to Bratton's concerns, the City Council is considering a law that would penalize pet owners who don't crate their animals -- $25 for the first conviction, $45 for a second conviction within a year and $65 for the third offense.
Bratton wrote that he was concerned bomb-sniffing dogs might instinctively attack aggressive domestic pets, or their owners, and that terrorists could take advantage of possible conflict between the animals.
"If the public is not required to kennel their canines, it is not inconceivable that an individual attempting to avoid detection may place an animal near to the contraband or explosive in an attempt to have the detection canine handlers, seeking to minimize conflict, avoid sweeping the area," Bratton wrote.
The number of canines working at the airport has jumped threefold in the seven years since 9/11, as local and federal agencies deployed them to sniff unattended luggage and other items for traces of explosives or other substances.
The City Council's Public Safety Committee reviewed a recommendation that the city fine pet owners if they don't crate their pets at LAX on Monday and referred it to the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee for further discussion.
What do you think....should animals at the airport be crated?
-- Jennifer Oldham
Photo: Ric Feld / Associated Press