The text below is an email from the ASPCA sent in May 2012. With so many touching photos online of present-day K9 teams, who knew this was still the case? I thought treating military animals as equipment to be left behind or destroyed was something long gone in the US Armed Forces. If you are in the US, please email your senators*. If you aren’t, please publicize this and also maybe check into your own military’s practices. I couldn’t find much information on the Canadian Armed Forces, only a couple interesting articles on bomb-sniffing dogs in Afghanistan here.
(ASPCA) Help the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act
Each branch of the Armed Forces uses military working dogs (MWDs) in service to the country. Many of these intelligent, loyal animals serve alongside our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have prevented countless injuries and saved lives.
Unfortunately, these heroic dogs are currently classified as “equipment” by the U.S. Department of Defense. This classification not only trivializes these animals’ contributions, it also makes it difficult to transport dogs serving in foreign lands back to the United States for adoption once they’re ready for civilian life.
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act will remedy this issue by reclassifying MWDs as “canine members of the armed forces” and instituting programs to assist with their placement and veterinary care after retirement from service—all without using federal funds. This legislation seems like a no-brainer, and yet the bill has only seven cosponsors in the Senate.
We need to generate greater support for the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act in the U.S. Senate. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center online right now to email your two U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., and urge them to cosponsor the bill.
Thank you, advocates, for standing up for America’s military working dogs.
*Looking for updates on the Bill, all I could find was that it was passed, in part, in early 2013. The part reclassifying MWDs as Armed Forces members rather than ‘equipment’ was deleted, meaning that costs of returning them to the US must be borne by adopters instead of their military service branch. (Republished this US Memorial Day from my St. Thomas Dog Blog, May 24/12.)