ASPCA Offers Assistance to Suffering Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Overseas

September 19, 2019

Honoring Military Working Dogs This Armed Forces Day

Explosion-detection dogs work tirelessly to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, often in dangerous situations. When the U.S. government trains working dogs, it bears a responsibility to ensure the animals’ physical and behavioral needs are fully met and that no cruel practices are used in raising, training and caring for them. And yet, a recent report by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) uncovered shockingly inhumane treatment of bomb-detector dogs trained by the federal government and deployed in the country of Jordan. At least 10 of these dogs died from medical problems from 2008 through 2016.

Inspectors observed bomb-sniffing dogs in Jordan subjected to unimaginable cruelty that left them malnourished, tick-infested, overworked and filthy. Due to their lack of proper shelter, sanitation and care, most were under constant threat of illness and disease.  

In response to this report, ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker sent a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urging the State Department to immediately adopt the OIG’s recommendations in full to better ensure the proper welfare and treatment of dogs in the Explosive Detection Canine Program and to cease the program immediately until those recommendations are implemented. Read Bershadker’s letter here [PDF].

The ASPCA is committed to assisting in the rehoming of dogs in the program, if necessary, as well as offering veterinary care, animal sheltering and behavioral rehabilitation expertise to assist the State Department with the development and review of welfare standards for U.S. dogs deployed to Jordan and other countries. 

The lives of these hardworking animals must be a top priority, and we hope the State Department will agree that it is responsible for doing whatever is necessary to prevent the death toll from rising. 

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