May 14, 2015

Honoring Military Working Dogs This Armed Forces Day

Honoring Military Working Dogs This Armed Forces Day

This Saturday marks Armed Forces Day, a special day to celebrate Americans serving across our five U.S.  military branches including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. This year, as we honor the brave service men and women who defend our country, please take a moment to recognize the four-legged heroes who also serve on the frontline for America every day.

Military Working Dogs, or MWDs, play a critical role in our nation’s defense and are crucial to the safety of our service members. The military estimates that the average MWD saves between 150-200 lives during his or her career. These amazing dogs work tirelessly to keep us safe, successfully performing important and dangerous duties that can be difficult—if not impossible—for people, all while providing unconditional love and loyalty to the men and women who work alongside them.

In recognition of these heroic animals’ unwavering service to our country, we believe that our government’s commitment to their wellbeing must extend beyond the period of military service.

In late 2012, Congress took action in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an  annual military policy bill, to better protect retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing a system of veterinary care for retired animals.

This year’s NDAA seeks to build upon the 2012 law to improve life after service for military dogs.  The U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee included a provision in this year’s bill to require the military to bring home retired dogs serving overseas and to ease the adoption process for handlers who choose to adopt. These changes will strengthen the bond between dog and handler and ensure that these canine heroes can begin their new lives in loving, secure environments.  

We are grateful to Congress, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force, which administers the Military Working Dog Program, for recognizing the importance of our service dogs and for their continued work to protect these canine heroes.

Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to get important updates on legislation impacting dogs on the frontline and other important animal-welfare related bills.