There are close to 3.000 military working dogs deployed around the world and the U.S. Between 600 and 700 are put to work in war zones.
When they retire, there is no organized effort to care for them.( Thu Jan 12 15:50:40 PST 2012 $__output )
The dogs are currently classified as equipment by the military, which leaves the much of the cost of their care after their service up to those who adopt them, including transporting them back from overseas.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has sponsored a bill that would establish a “Retired Military Working Dogs Veterinary Care Fund”, supported by donations that will provide care for the animals.
“It’s caring for truly heroic animals that save lives of our war fighters abroad. Military working dogs routinely patrol ahead of the line, put in harm’s way to protect our troops,” Blumenthal said.
The retired military dogs would travel to an Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas by commercial air through donated travel benefits.
“My dog is 7 years old, so by the time we come back he will be 9," said Sgt. Gabriel Rosario, of the Connecticut National Guard. "At that point and time, the way the adoption process works, it’s going to be a lot longer. This bill will help us to get that process faster and to have the aid to provide for the dog after he retires.”
The bill would also allow the Department of Defense to honor military dogs for their service to the country.