TSA dog bites woman in stomach for no reason, she says (video)

A Georgia woman says she was waiting for her sister at Atlanta’s airport when a TSA officer walked by with a bomb-sniffing dog, and the dog suddenly bit her in the stomach, for no reason.

She says she didn’t realize her clothes were ripped, or that she had multiple, nasty, puncture wounds in her belly until she went out to her car.  She then came back in to report it.

Naturally, there was no follow-up from the TSA or the police about the incident.

Understandably, the woman is a bit concerned that, if her story is true, a TSA dog would attack someone in an airport without cause.

Sue Dubitsky's wounds from an alleged attack by a TSA dog at Atlanta's airport. (Source: collegepark.11alive.com)

Sue Dubitsky’s wounds from an alleged attack by a TSA dog at Atlanta’s airport. (Source: collegepark.11alive.com)

Her wounds from the dog bite are nothing to dismiss. First of all, look at the photo – this is hardly some scratch.

As much as I love dogs, a biting dog should never be tolerated, especially in such circumstances. Our former deputy on the blog, Joe Sudbay, got bitten by a dog a few years back in the park, and thought nothing of it until he found out later that if he didn’t find the dog, he’d need to get rabies shots.  Dog bites are notoriously dirty things.  Presumably the TSA dogs had their shots, so the woman doesn’t need to get hers.  But still.

The other reason dog bites are serious is because if they’ve bitten someone once, for no reason, chances are good they either have done it before or they will do it again. This reported bite is serious enough, since she was bleeding and it left a good-sized mark. The next time it could easily be a kid or an elderly traveler who is not so fortunate.

Dubitsky is right to raise this with the TSA, and to worry about what might have happened if the dog had attacked a child instead of an adult. She’s also right to expect an update and clarification as to why the dog is still on active duty, risking other travelers.

Well, she’s right to want an update, not to actually expect she’ll get one.

Here’s a report from CollegePark.11alive.com:


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Worse, one can’t sue the government for damages.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    :-)

  • evodevo

    I really can’t imagine she didn’t realize she had been bitten as severely as it shows in the pic. I was bitten that badly once, and I can tell you the pain is amazing, and I bled like a stuck pig. I’m wondering if this is the whole story…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/stuffy.barfmore Stuffy Barfmore

    because the majority of the TSA dogs are handled by the LOCAL law enforcement officers
    police brutality!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stuffy.barfmore Stuffy Barfmore

    even though the dogs are TSA-trained, the local police actually use them, so it’s on the local law enforcemnt

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    We hunted with one truly remarkable basset/beagle mix which had a real genius for chasing rabbits back to us, belling loudly the entire time so we always knew exactly where he was… and one pure-bred but oversized beagle who was dumber than rocks. It was a while between dogs after those were all gone, but the next was a Brittany Spaniel we trained up as a pointer-retriever. Wicked smart, that one, but we were never able to break his hard-mouthing, so we gave up on the latter part and just let him scare up the birds and rabbits.

    I’d moved on to college before my folks got their next dog, a black lab who also grew up insanely huge — we’re talking malamute big — and if anything was even more stupid than that beagle.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    But, consider what airports are like these days—–prison yards. One feels accused just for traveling. I can clearly imagine a sanguinary attitude in an overbearing authoritarian environment. Incompetence and abuse has clearly become the operating culture of the TSA. This is a case in point about the Americans being herded into acquiescence and accepting such abuse as normal.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, some are pointers, others are holders. Our Spaniels would do both if within twenty feet of a treat.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    They did confiscate her bottled water, M&M’s, and peanut butter cracker snacks as serious possible objects of terrorism, and just didn’t give a s**t about her. It’s the Warsaw Ghetto police mentality that is evolving around the TSA goons.

  • UncleBucky

    Huh?

  • Naja pallida

    The problem really is that when people talk about sniffing dogs, they always put all the onus on the dog. When in actuality, about 90% of the training has to be on the part of the handler. The dog is only giving classic Pavlovian responses to stimuli. It is the job of the handler to act in a way so as to be able to get consistent responses, and then interpret those responses into something viable for investigation. There is a reason why canine crews have to train constantly. Any small mistake on the handler’s part, even something they may not be consciously aware of, like treating women differently or talking to Hispanic men with a slightly different tone of voice, can alter the dog’s behavior enough to result in inaccurate reporting.

    I have more faith in programs like the Beagle Brigade, which is a more passive detection process, and allows the dog to behave in a more natural way, and not constantly looking to the handler for cues for how they should be reacting to a given “search”. Still, no animal detection process is ever going to be 100%. No more than any human detection process will be. Even the “hand wipe down” thing they do to detect explosives residue is horribly inaccurate, and basically useless.

  • maggie

    Ok, so I just read one of the links (I can’t view the video) and it reads a little differently than above… she WAS checked out by paramedics afterwards. It sounds like they dismissed it as just a scratch (which is not how I’d describe that horrible looking wound.)

  • maggie

    I agree with Nicho, I’m having trouble reconciling that horrible looking wound with the fact she didnt notice the dog had bit her until later? How could you not feel that? And wouldn’t you check if a dog snapped at you, even if you didnt feel anything. Since it happened in that airport, there must be video though.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ve long since had doubts about the allegedly god-like sniffing capabilities ascribed to dogs.

    I’ve been game-hunting with canines and it’s not that hard to fool ‘em.

  • nicho

    I don’t know what the explanation is, but if you get three or four puncture wounds in your stomach. you pretty much realize that right away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    I’ve long wondered about the efficacy of dogs for sniffing out drug and explosives. I’m not seriously questioning the dogs’ ability to detect these substances but there is another, possibly stronger influence on the dogs’ behavior: the body language and subtle cues coming from the dogs’ handlers (cf. “Clever Hans”.)

  • Naja pallida

    Goes well with the GAO report that was just released that says the TSA isn’t training their canine teams properly or adequately, and isn’t deploying them in an effective manner even if they did train them correctly.

  • Rrhain

    Wait a minute: The dog bit someone and the TSA did nothing immediately? Even if there were no actual bite upon the person, a TSA dog snapped at a passenger and they didn’t immediately assess the situation to determine if a bite took place and why the dog snapped at the passenger? How on earth did she manage to leave without an examination? Or at least having the handler give her information on what to do regarding this incident?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As a nearly lifetime dog owner (except since my last newfie passed on and we went traveling…we’re waiting on getting the new place properly fenced before we get a puppy), I can say with near certainty that unless extensively retrained, a dog that has bitten once to the degree shown here WILL bite again. And again.

    That is a serious bite, and multiple skin punctures means there’s a high chance of infection. That woman definitely deserves more than the mere (and literal) band-aid she received.

    BTW, fascinating reading in that 2nd link up there, how essentially the ‘NCP’ (National Canine Program) is a $101 million boondoggle, in that the dogs are terribly inaccurate in their detection, and furthermore were never intended to be sniffing passengers, but just cargo.

    Seems pretty clear to me they were simply added as another bit-player in America’s obsession with Airport Security Theater.

  • ComradeRutherford

    She must have gone to her car and did this to herself just to make the TSA look bad! That’s the only CONservative explanation!

  • nicho

    Something’s wrong here. If you got bit that badly, you’d know it right away.

  • UncleBucky

    Why didn’t TSA at the moment of the encounter do something?

    OK, and sorry to say, but if I were bit anywhere by a dog, I would check. It would hurt. It would sting.

    Something here is not clear.

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