New Bill Would Retire Military Dogs With Their Handlers

“Right now the military says presumption is for the owner not to get the dog unless they fight, fight, fight to get it,” Senator Chuck Schumer said.

 

Ryky and Ready to go.FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, and is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.(U.S. Army photo courtesy of Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)
Ryky and Ready to go. FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, and is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.(U.S. Army photo courtesy of Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

 

Senators across the country are lobbying for a bill to be passed that would ensure the care of military dogs after their retirement.  Deemed “military equipment,” many are left behind to fend for themselves, but now politicians are pushing for laws that would make it mandatory for them to be brought home, and preferably given to their handlers.

“After all we know about treating debilitating post war conditions, like PTSD and other health afflictions, it makes absolute sense to keep service members joined with their service dogs,” Schumer said. “To know that after all these years, this unresolved issue stands in the way of our veterans and their beloved four-legged friends is unfair and misguided. The federal government has always stood strong with veterans, supporting them and giving veterans the resources to return home and lead productive lives. That’s exactly why Congress should support this cause, because our veterans say it helps; it’s good for them. Here we have a commonsense policy that is good for the animals that give it their all for America – and for the American heroes who love these dogs so dearly.”

Though you may have heard it before it still comes as a shock to think that it’s not uncommon for military dogs to be left behind in the countries where they served, which is a load of crap coming from governments that spend billions of tax dollars on the military budget each year.  Sadly, they don’t spend nearly enough providing for veterans – human and canine – once they complete their service.

Most handlers and other platoon members view their dogs as brethren out on the battlefield, and would love to have the dogs come home with them, but at the very least want them to have a home.

Megan Leavey is one of many veterans who jumped at the chance to have her canine, Rex, come home to her when he was to be retired.  They served together on two very dangerous tours in Iraq, but it took five years for them to be reunited, and they didn’t have much time left.

“Those eight months I had with him, when we got back together, couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said.

Now at least two senators – Ron Wyden of Oregon and Chuck Schumer of New York are hoping to see a change in the treatment of these important veterans.

“Right now the military says presumption is for the owner not to get the dog unless they fight, fight, fight to get it,” Schumer said.

He and Wyden are pushing to get the Military Working Dog Retirement Act of 2015 passed, which would require the Pentagon to arrange and fund the transport of retired military dogs back to the US.

“The bond between these military working dogs and their handlers is unique,” Wyden said in a statement. “By bringing these dogs that have served alongside our men and women in uniform back to the United States, this bill can provide assistance to veterans while supporting the close bond between these dogs and our soldiers returning home.”

 

27 thoughts on “New Bill Would Retire Military Dogs With Their Handlers

    1. http://www.orvis.com/news/dogs/update-military-responds-to-jonah-goldbergs-article-about-military-working-dogs-being-left-behind/
      Please be assured, those stories are false. The DoD has 100% accountability over every MWD in the program. Please also know that it is false that contractors who are on a DoD Contract Working Dog (CWD) contract are leaving dogs behind. The contracts require those dogs to be returned to the contractor upon completion of the contract.

      Melanie please do some fact checking on this issue. I agree that the dos should be retired with trainers/handlers but the dogs are not left behind.

      1. I am retired Army and did not think for a moment any dog was ever left behind. Just won’t happen.

    2. Having been a handler for most of my adult life I feel that if a handler wants to keep their dog they should be able to.do just that.

  1. This is absolutely FALSE. All US Military Working Dogs (MWDs) return from deployment with their handler. What the Military Working Dog Retirement Act would do is allow for RETIRED MWDs that retire in overseas US Military installations to be shipped to the United States on the government’s dime instead of out of the adoptive owner’s pocket. Please do a little research and stop propagating false information.

  2. The dogs need to stay with there handlers and be allowed to return to USA whit them that are true heros just like their handlers but with shorter life spands. They have hearts just like people please let them stay together

  3. Will this bill ensure that handlers have first dibs on the dog they had as their partner? I have an acquaintance who’ I watched for years post pictures and videos on tour only for the dog to be adopted out to another family after he was retired, despite his partner fighting for months to get him. The family declined to return him to his handler.

  4. These dogs are out saving our country and their handlers when their time and duty has been fulfilled with the military I feel deeply they should be retired with their handler if that’s what the handler wants
    Like any soldier they deserve to go home back to the United States in an honorable manner To a family that will love and care for them to the end of their life

  5. bring home our dogs. They fought the war also and deserve to be home again. From what I read the handlers want the dog they worked with so please pass the bill to Bring them All Home Thank you .

  6. When their handler’ s duty is up so should theirs. They belong together. It’s the very least we can do for our soldiers.

  7. I believe this bill has passed, so thank you to Sens. Schumer and Wyden for this. I was aware that a person could apply to adopt a service dog from their training facility in TX. I downloaded the forms, even. I am guessing that the handler trying to get his dog back from a family who adopted him was a result of this program. Handlers having to pay to ship the dog back at their own expense only served to divide them both. If you are going home, you face trying to get new employment, and perhaps financial insecurity, as many vets do. He might opt to not take the dog because of this. The dog and handler belong together, absolutely! There are many programs in the states to provide a rescue pet to a vet with PTSD, and the pet provides unconditional love to help calm the vet. There has been good feedback. With the passage of this law, those returning handlers already have their dog with them. Transport planes are coming back anyway. There is room for these soldiers.

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  11. That these wonderful,, brave dogs are left behind is horrible.and totally irresponsible. What does this say about us as a nation. If my vote counts. I vote for bringing them back with their handlers. PLEASE pass this new bill.

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