When military dogs are retired as ‘equipment’ and left in war zones

When military dogs are retired as ‘equipment’ and left in war zones

[Ed. – It would cost so little to correct this.]

Military dogs are enlisted (drafted actually) to identify enemy locations, to seek out bombs and protect bases. It is dangerous, often traumatic, work. The dogs are credited with saving countless U.S. and allied lives, which is why the Taliban actively targets our dogs of war. While on active service, each dog is given a higher rank than its handler.

That is, right up until the moment these dogs are “retired.” Once they are too old, too shell-shocked or simply not needed, the dogs are automatically declared equipment that can be left behind like a latrine tent. The military sometimes says they are “retired” and become “civilians,” but the result is the same because these civilians don’t have a right to military transport home. …

[H]andlers are sometimes forced to make incredible sacrifices to get their four-legged comrades home on their own.

Organizations such as the United States War Dog Association, the American Humane Association and K9s of the War on Terror do heroic work to reunite them when possible, at no taxpayer expense. One need only watch the videos of these reunionsto see that the effort was worth it.

Legislation pushed by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., that would require military dogs to be retired only upon return to the U.S. has been languishing in Congress for years. Politically, and morally, it’s understandable that the top priority must be given to providing human veterans with adequate care, particularly amid the horrific Veterans Affairs scandals plaguing the Obama administration. No politician wants to be accused of caring more about dogs than people. But that’s largely a false choice. The cost of finding room on military transports is negligible, according to many. Private organizations can handle the rest.

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