War dogs: Blumenthal wants improved adoptions, honors for military canines

Gregory Bull/AP

A Democratic senator wants working military dogs to get more honors and homes.

The post-battlefield adoption and official recognition of courageous acts of military working dogs would be improved under a bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., plans to introduce.

Appearing on Thursday at an event in Hartford with soldiers and National Guard officials, Blumenthal said: "Military working dogs routinely patrol ahead of the line -- put in harm's way to protect our troops.... These courageous comrades help detect and disarm roadside bombs and IEDs -- some of the deadliest threats to our troops.

"They are critical partners to our combat teams," Blumenthal said.

Even so, Blumenthal said, the Defense Department classifies the canines as "equipment," leaving the dogs' adopters or individual military units to bear the cost of transportation and care if they wish to bring them back home.

Blumenthal's bill would: establish a "retired military working dogs veterinary care fund," with private donations covering care costs to adopted and retired military dogs; standardize the adoption process and centralize efforts to place dogs without options when they retire out of Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The same donated travel benefits used by service members could be applied to transporting the dogs to San Antonio. And the bill would enable the Defense Department to honor courageous or meritorious dogs, or those killed in action.

"Retired military working dogs often continue to serve at home in offering companionship and care to war fighters," added Blumenthal. "For their service abroad, these dogs deserve their loyalty and dedication to be returned when they are home."

"This is just the right thing to do for both our soldier handlers and their hard working battle buddy," said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus Martin, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard, who joined Blumenthal in making the announcement.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.