The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced plans to buy 3,000 dogs from breeders to increase its force of working canines that sniff out money, drugs and explosives, and perform other lifesaving duties. Since only 20 percent of dogs selected for service programs successfully complete training, this plan will actually result in the breeding of 15,000 dogs, 12,000 of which will end up in shelters and euthanized since the U.S. already faces a companion animal overpopulation crisis.
Instead of breeding and buying, DHS should adopt from the millions of dogs abandoned each year. Data shows that adopted dogs are just as able to successfully complete training as dogs purchased from expensive breeding programs. Some service and police dog programs across the country already adopt from rescues and shelters. It is time that Janet Napolitano, a President Obama appointee, and the DHS do the same and be a leader and an example for all working dog programs. It's time to stop contributing to animal overpopulation and save tax payers millions of dollars in the process.