Homeland Security: use shelter dogs!

Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security announced last month that it plans to train 3,000 dogs over the next five years to help keep Americans safe. The Department is looking for Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and other “breeds with prior approval” to help FEMA and Customs and Border Patrol agents in their work.

Great, I thought. Shelters are loaded with these breeds — many right in the age group they’re looking for: one to three years. As I read further, however, I learned that the Department is not going to enlist shelter dogs for this task. Instead they’ll pay millions of dollars to breeders to “create” what we, in essence, already have.

The worst part: Only 20% of the bred dogs will qualify for the Department’s programs. That means the remaining 80% — around 12,000 dogs — will need homes, adding considerably to the number of homeless dogs already waiting to be adopted.

Urge Janet Napolitano to reconsider her decision to add to the millions of animals in shelters, many of whom will ultimately face euthanasia. Ask dog-loving congress members for their help in influencing Napolitano. (Please keep your emails short and respectful; see below for examples.)

We helped do it for Sarge. Let’s take the fight to the national level on behalf of shelter dogs across this country.

Email:

Janet Napolitano

janet.napolitano@hq.dhs.gov

Barack Obama

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

John McCain

http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

Al Franken

http://franken.senate.gov/?p=email_al

Dennis Kucinich

http://www.kucinich.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm

Sample letters (feel free to cut and paste):

Dear Secretary Napolitano,

On behalf of the millions of shelter animals nation wide, please reconsider your decision to contract breeders to provide dogs for Department of Homeland Security programs. There are millions of shelter dogs across the country, some facing euthanasia or months in a tiny kennel, who fit your required breed, age, and temperament criteria. Please don’t ignore the potential of these animals – according to experts, shelter dogs can be just as successful in this work as those who are bred – or the moral obligation we have to them. They deserve the chance to not only serve our nation, but to live.

Sincerely,

***

Dear President Obama [Senator Franken/Congressman Kucinich],

On behalf of the millions of shelter animals nation wide, I kindly ask you to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to reconsider her decision to contract breeders to provide dogs for Department programs. There are millions of shelter dogs across the country, some facing euthanasia or months in a tiny kennel, who fit the breed, age, and temperament criteria required for such training. Please don’t ignore the potential of these animals (according to experts, shelter dogs can be just as successful in this work as those who are bred) or the moral obligation we have to them. They deserve the chance to not only serve our nation, but to live.

Sincerely,