JoAnna Lou
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Reclassifying Military Canines
Bill seeks better treatment for war dogs
U.S. Army Specialist Robert Mather Jr. and Nouska.

As we celebrate Independence Day, it's important to remember our veterans—both human and canine. The military has been slow in providing the care and respect that these working canines deserve. Retired war dogs were euthanized for decades before “Robby's Law” allowed these brave pups to be adopted. However, the military still has a long way to go in giving dogs proper treatment.

I was shocked to learn that the military classifies working canines as equipment. Because of this distinction, dogs that are retired overseas are considered excess equipment and are not transported home. They can be adopted, but the government doesn't provide any financial support.

U.S. Army Specialist Robert Mather Jr. couldn't afford to adopt the Belgian Malinois he worked with in Iraq and Germany. Fortunately Mather's community raised the money to bring Nouska back to N.J., but it's a disgrace that the military didn't pay for her safe return. Nouska served for 10 years and 4 tours of duty!

Representative Walter Jones and Senator Richard Blumenthal teamed up earlier this year to sponsor a bill that would make sure dogs like Nouska are safe. The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act would allow the military to honor courageous canines, make sure that all dogs are flown back home, and set up a private fund for lifetime health care. The House of Representatives already passed the bill and the legislation is now in the Senate.

Seems like a no brainer for the furry pups who serve our country and protect our troops!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Screenshot from CNN.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Russell Hartstein | July 5 2012 |

This is very upsetting. Our government uses dogs as dispensable objects and not as sentient beings. This is a complete lack of respect for humans, dogs and all living creatures. I would be more than happy to sign a petition if a service person would like to start one. Ps: you would think that Obama would be very apt to changing this seeing how his family has a 4 legged member named Bo! Russell Hartstein CPDT Fun Paw Care

Submitted by Christine | August 2 2012 |

I would be honored to have one of these retired working dogs! Hooooah for all the good homes being offered to take care of one of these heroes! Please send info on how to apply for one of these heroes! Thanks Christine

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