MSP’s Zita a finalist in TSA’s cutest K-9 contest

For the second year in a row, a security dog at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is a finalist for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) cutest K-9 contest.

The TSA says 3-year-old Zita, a German shorthair pointer, is one of four finalists in the 2023 contest, which is open to votes from the public.

Last year, Eebbers, an 11-year-old Vizsla/Labrador mix, was a finalist and went on to win the whole contest. He retired later in the year and was replaced by Zita.

People can vote for Zita on the TSA’s social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The first round of voting is ongoing and runs through Tuesday. Then, the final round of online voting for the winners will take place starting Wednesday before the winner is announced next Monday.

The TSA says MSP would be the first airport to have back-to-back cutest K-9 winners if Zita wins this year. The other finalists are from Harry Reid International Airport, Tampa International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

While the K-9s are all undoubtedly cute, they’re also huge pieces of the airport security teams. The TSA says the dogs are highly skilled and work to keep travelers safe and secure across the country, not only in airports but also in mass transit, commuter rail and maritime venues. Overall, the agency has more than 1,000 explosives detection K-9 teams.