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Ed’s Corner: Honor All Those Who Serve Us on Memorial Day, Including Canines

Friday, May 25, 2012 - 12:30pm

This Memorial Day, as we remember all the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, let’s not forget the sacrifices of the military dogs who have served alongside them.

Much of the world cheered when 80 members of an American commando team captured and killed Osama bin Laden a little more than a year ago. One of these American heroes was Cairo, the dog who played an integral part in Bin Laden’s capture. Because so much of that mission remains top secret, we haven’t been able to see a picture of Cairo, but we know that he was one of the team members responsible for closing off the perimeter of the home where Bin Laden was hiding.

Not all dogs have had the opportunity to help capture the world’s most wanted fugitive as Cairo did, but every military dog is saving lives through detecting explosives, conducting searches and patrols, and working on specialized missions. Beyond that, though, these dogs are also extremely loyal to their handlers and are willing to do anything to protect them. For example, CNN reported the heartbreaking story of Cpl. Dustin Lee, who was badly injured in an insurgent attack while he was on patrol in Iraq. His canine partner, Lex, also suffered shrapnel injuries, but pushed himself through his pain to lie over his human partner in an attempt to protect him. Tragically, Cpl. Lee did not survive his injuries, but his dog Lex did. Lex was adopted by Cpl. Lee’s family and was then recognized by Members of Congress for his exceptional service.

Classified as Equipment
Military dogs have died, been maimed and suffered to save our military service members, yet they are currently defined as mere “equipment” under federal law. Defining military dogs as equipment is shameful. It trivializes all that dogs do, but even more important, it makes it more difficult to return retired dogs to the United States for adoption. Dogs are sometimes stuck in far away locales while those wanting to adopt them must pay large fees to transport them. Old equipment may be left behind, but retired military dogs never should be.

Please Take Action for Military Dogs
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), reclassifies military dogs as “canine members of the armed forces” instead of equipment. The bill also streamlines the adoption process for retired military dogs and directs the military to set up a program for retired dogs’ veterinary care, at no cost to the taxpayer. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to create a decoration or other recognition for military dogs that are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to their country.

We need your help to build Senate support for the bill. For the sake of our canine heroes, please contact your U.S. senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. Like their human counterparts, our military dogs deserve a happy retirement from service.

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alexis erlbaum

please sponsor the bill that allows canine members of armed forces to retire happily.

Melissa S.

They have served just as much as humans have. Not only that, they help our human soldiers in many ways--however they happened to be trained, and just by being companions to them.

Victoria Cross

Please support Military Dogs.

Matthew mccreedy

There is no excuse to not help/ treat the Dogs as a Life not a piece of equipment. Thoughs same dogs can help disabled people At an ext... Please do not just brush this off there are called mans best friend FOR A REASON!!!!

Cathie De Silva

Since when has any animal been a piece of equipment? Obviously this is a very old piece of legislation that needs to be brought up to date!

paras pohler

Military dogs have died, been maimed and suffered to save our military service members, yet they are currently defined as mere “equipment” under federal law. Defining military dogs as equipment is shameful. It trivializes all that dogs do, but even more important, it makes it more difficult to return retired dogs to the United States for adoption. Dogs are sometimes stuck in far away locales while those wanting to adopt them must pay large fees to transport them. Old equipment may be left behind, but retired military dogs never should be.

Please cosponsor S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. Like their human counterparts, our military dogs deserve a happy retirement from service.

jeanette davis

Why is this even a question? We train these dogs, take advantage of their abilities and they protect and help soliders in war without even being able to give us premission to use them! They sense fear and I'm sure get scared, but they still risk their lives, they should be treated fairly and have every right to make it back home as anyone else! Its sad this even needs to be questioned it should just be done, a natural instinct! We all got here the same way whether it be god or something else, but whatever it was put us all here for a reason and that reason was not to be used, taken advantage of and than threw away like a piece of trash when we have no use for it anymore!!

Preston Pohler

Military dogs have died, been maimed and suffered to save our military service members, yet they are currently defined as mere “equipment” under federal law. Defining military dogs as equipment is shameful. It trivializes all that dogs do, but even more important, it makes it more difficult to return retired dogs to the United States for adoption. Dogs are sometimes stuck in far away locales while those wanting to adopt them must pay large fees to transport them. Old equipment may be left behind, but retired military dogs never should be.

Please cosponsor S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. Like their human counterparts, our military dogs deserve a happy retirement from service.

Amelia Arkin

The stories I have read over the years, and being close companions to animals myself, I have the utmost awe and respect for what they do for us, their courage, love and loyalty.

Lisa

They are heroes too! Xo

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