The dogs who serve ably and bravely among U.S. and coalition troops in war-torn areas of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other places are not being treated with any respect once they return home. The Army confirmed an Inspector General’s report that it mishandled war dogs and vowed to comply with recommendations in the DOD report that calls for reforms.

In a report released on Friday, the Inspector General said that canine heroes, which saved the lives of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan while working with brigade combat teams to sniff out roadside bombs, were mistreated by the Army after they returned to the United States.

Army spokesman Major Christopher Ophardt said in a statement emailed to Reuters, “The Army concurs with the DoDIG [cq] (Defense Inspector General) report and is complying with” its recommendations.

The report said that some dogs were left in kennels for up to 11 months, beyond a deadline for giving them away for adoption or re-using them in the military or other government agencies. It said they were mistreated through lack of care and attention, and others may have been put down.

Contrary to military rules, new owners were not screened before the Army allowed them to adopt the dogs. It said that some dogs with histories of biting were given to families with children, and others were given to owners who lacked the ability or resources to care for them.

In some cases, the report said, soldiers who wanted to adopt dogs with which they had worked were not told they had the right to do so. An investigation was started after soldiers who had handled the war dogs complained about their fate.

The bond between the working dogs and their handlers is as close if not closer than the bond between soldiers who experience combat. Why would anyone involved in the adoption process look to deny the dogs to live out their lives in peace with their handlers? It makes no sense.

The handlers should always be given first priority if they wish to adopt these dogs who have given so much of themselves. And to neglect them in a kennel without proper care is nearly as bad as the VA scandals where our troops don’t get proper care. It needs to be fixed…now.

To read the entire article from Reuters, click here:

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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