The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, called H.R. 4103 in the House and S. 2134 in the Senate, would change the status of Military Working Dogs (MWDs) to reflect the level of service these dogs give every day. Currently, the United States Department of Defense lists these dogs under the “equipment” category.
Representative Jones praised the brave work MWDs do in times of war: “These dogs are a crucial asset to the U.S. Armed Forces and have saved countless American lives during the past decade of conflict,” Jones stated.
Senator Blumenthal explained why this legislation is necessary for MWDs both during times of conflict and at home. “Retired military working dogs often continue to serve at home in offering companionship and care to our veterans,” he said. “For their service abroad, these dogs deserve their loyalty and dedication to be returned when they are home.”
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act would make it easier – and cheaper – for retired MWDs to be adopted by transporting the dogs to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Usually those wanting to adopt these dogs must pay a hefty fee to cover the costs of flying MWDs back to the U.S. The bill would also provide for veterinary care for retired Military Working Dogs. Funds would be raised and awarded through a contract nonprofit organization to help cover the sometimes-high cost of care for MWDs.
Finally, the bill would allow for official recognition and the awarding of medals for courageous canine military service. Dogs who perform brave acts or are killed while serving will be honored – just like their human counterparts.
To show your support for the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, contact your senators and representatives. For more information about the service and sacrifices made by United States Military Working Dogs, check out Maria Goodavage’s upcoming book Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes, available March 15th.