Public asked to ‘raise a paw’ and vote in TSA’s 2021 Cutest Canine contest

Las Vegas’s own Alona is a contest finalist and deserving of your vote
Local Press Release
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

LAS VEGAS - Voting is underway in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) 2021 Cutest Canine contest and the public is invited to help the agency select which of its working canine is most deserving of this title. 

Alona, a four-year-old Golden Retriever, works at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport with her handler Vanessa and is one of four finalists in this year’s contest.

All voting is being conducted via TSA’s social media platforms including its Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. TSA will announce the contest winner on Thursday, August 26, which is National Dog Day. The public can cast its vote until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Thursday, August 19.

Alona is a very social dog and a favorite of travelers who can be overheard saying how adorable she is as she carries out her important responsibilities as a working canine. Alona’s reward toy is a hard rubber ball and she loves to playfully interact with handler Vanessa. In her off-hours, Alona prefers to listen to pop music while relaxing and you can often find her at the park where she loves the wide open spaces.

Alona and handler photo

TSA utilizes canines like Alona in its security operations nationwide. They are trained to detect the scent of explosives or explosive materials. These highly-skilled dogs are paired with handlers and utilize their keen sense of smell when working in a busy transportation environment.

Canines are a visible layer of security and they supplement TSA’s efforts to keep travelers safe and secure. In addition to working in aviation environment, they are also trained to work in mass transit, commuter rail and maritime venues. TSA currently has more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams deployed nationwide.

“TSA’s working canines play an important role in the agency’s security operations across the country. We are so fortunate to have Alona and her handler Vanessa as a member of our team in Las Vegas,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Las Vegas Karen Burke. “Alona is not only very skilled as a working dog, but she is also a worthy competitor in this year’s Cutest Canine contest. I’ll be voting for Alona and I hope you will join me in voting for her, too.”

In addition to LAS’s Alona, the other finalists in this year’s contest are Lexi, a Belgian Malinois who works at Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport (DFW); Badger, a Belgian Malinois who works at Chicago O’Hare International Airport; and Lexa, a German Shepard who works at DFW.

Below are the direct links to TSA’s social media accounts where votes can be cast. Don’t delay, “paws” what you are doing and vote for Alona today!