We write to you on behalf of our Military Working Dogs. We never really thought about what happened to them after their time was served. We weren’t uninformed because we didn’t care. We just assumed they were taken care of for the duration of their lives by our Government because MWDs risk their lives every day in war zones, just the same as our honorable men and women in the military....
We write to you on behalf of our Military Working Dogs. We never really thought about what happened to them after their time was served. We weren’t uninformed because we didn’t care. We just assumed they were taken care of for the duration of their lives by our Government because MWDs risk their lives every day in war zones, just the same as our honorable men and women in the military.
During the 112th Congress Congressman Walter Jones (R) of North Carolina and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) of Connecticut brought out the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, H.R.4103 and S.2134. This bill had bipartisan and bi-cameral support, as well as support north and south of the Mason Dixon Line. Parts of the bill were amended into the NDAA for FY 2013 and passed.
We would like to share with you the intent and contents of the original version of the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act.
The original bill reclassified MWDs from “equipment,” as indicated in the Air Force Manual, to canine members of the Armed Forces. “The Military Working Dog is a highly specialized piece of equipment that supplements and enhances the capabilities of security police personal.” (Air Force Manual)
The original bill allowed for the acceptance frequent flyer miles to facilitate the adoption of a military working dog.
The original bill established and maintained a system to provide for veterinary care of retired MWDs to be funded via a non-profit.
Lastly, in the original bill the Secretary of Defense would create appropriate recognition for MWDs who are KIA or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to the United States.
The majority of MWDs are retired for medical reasons. Their medical bills can run thousands of dollars per year. When humans first adopt retired MWDs they not only pay to transport their new family member home, but many times, they also have the expense of flying them self to where the MWD is being retired from, pay for a hotel room, car rental and then the flight back home. The original legislation was designed to help alleviate some of that financial burden from the adopting human by allowing for the acceptance of frequent flyer miles for MWDs. Currently funds are raised on line to help pay for final transportation for most of our heroes to get to their furever home.
Likewise, to help with the potentially astronomical medical bills, the original bill would allow for payment of medical bills via a non-profit. As with the transportation, funds are being raised on line to help pay medical bills for our retired heroes.
We respectfully request that you follow the requests in the letter signed by United States Senators Richard Blumenthal, John Kerry, Olympia Snow, Patty Murray, Bernard Sanders, and Kirsten Gillibrand dated 31 December 2012 that was addressed to former Secretary of Defense Panetta.
We ask that you take advantage of the statutory authority given to the Secretary of Defense by Congress and transport all retiring/retired MWDs to a suitable location for adoption. We thank former Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley for acknowledging that the Air Force will work with organizations that initiate and fund veterinary care programs for our MWDs. We thank former Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley for honoring the service of our heroes by providing a commendation letter that identifies the MWD's meritorious service and provide additional recognition as appropriate.
While not in the NDAA, we, like the six United States Senators mentioned above, also encourage you to reexamine the current classification of MWDs as equipment and more accurately reclassify them as canine members of the Armed Forces.
We will share quotes from some of our military leaders who support our wonderful MWDs:
"War dogs have, indeed, served the nation well and saved many lives. Dogs continue to serve to protect Americans both in combat zones and in homeland security roles."
General Colin L. Powell, (Retired)
"I often used war dogs in Vietnam in perilous areas where they quite literally saved many lives. There is no doubt that war dogs deserve to be recognized and honored for their service to our country . . ."
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, (Retired)
"Technology, like the electronic frequency jammers used in Iraq to prevent bombs from being detonated by cell phones or TV remotes, has been successful, but the highest detection rates were still achieved using K-9 units and trained handlers."
Lt. General Michael L. Oates, (Retired)
MWD Thanks on behalf of Retired MWD Gizmo A085, deceased; Retired MWD Bianca W229, deceased; Retired MWD Brix D141, deceased; and Retired MWD Rambo N577.
They are: Too Cute to be Equipment - Too Brave to go Down Without a Fight!