Retired military dogs deserve a new leash on life

Mankind has always had a special relationship with dogs.

For thousands of years, dogs have comforted us, protected us, and given us their unconditional love. Time and time again through the ages they have proven why they are considered our best friends.  And nowhere is that remarkable bond between dogs and people been more critical than on the battlefield.

Soldiers have been relying on these four-footed comrades-in-arms since the beginning of organized warfare.

The Romans were known to have use dogs in their military campaigns to disrupt and overwhelm the enemy. During the Civil War, dogs were reported to have been used to guard soldiers. In the course of World War I, thousands of dogs were used as couriers. During the second World War, the Marines used dogs in the Pacific archipelago to locate enemy positions. And in Vietnam some 4,000 dogs were used to lead jungle patrols, saving many lives.

More recently, some 2,500 military working dogs and contract working dogs worked side by side with our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. And most famously, a Belgian Malinois war dog named Cairo was an integral part of the Navy SEALs team that helped kill America’s arch-nemesis Usama Bin Laden during a daring raid in 2011.

Today, military dogs are more important than ever in keeping our service men and women safe. With noses that are 100,000 times more sensitive than humans’ giving them an unparalleled ability to sniff out and detect weapons caches and Improvised Explosive Devices, it is estimated that each military working dog saves the lives of between 150-200 soldiers.

When not keeping our warriors out of harm’s way, the dogs provide our troops with companionship and an invaluable sense of normalcy and home under almost unimaginable circumstances.

Clearly a war dog is a soldier’s best friend.

That’s certainly true for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant James Harrington, who served for four years with Military Working Dog Ryky, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, to locate hidden explosives. Ryky served with him on two combat deployments in Iraq from 2008 to 2009 and in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, working with Special Operations on especially dangerous tasks. One day, their convoy was ambushed and the two sprang into action. They left the vehicle with no regard for their own safety and cleared a path to the damaged lead vehicle, allowing the injured soldiers to escape. For his remarkable courage under fire Ryky was awarded the K-9 Medal for Exceptional Service.

Faced daily with life or death situations, the bond between these dogs and those who work with them is nearly unbreakable. Yet when our human warriors end their tours of duty and return home, their faithful military dogs do not always follow.

We applaud the efforts of the military and animals lovers everywhere for the progress that has been made to bring home our military heroes.  But some of these heroes are slipping through the cracks.

If a military working dog is retired in a non-combat zone overseas, then the military does not provide transportation home since they are no longer considered military dogs, and therefore, not legally allowed to be transported on military aircraft.

The solution is simple:  Military working dogs should be brought home to U.S. soil before being retired. And, their former handlers, who have the strongest bond with these animals, should be given the first chance to adopt.

We believe this should be the case for all our military war dogs. Furthermore, there are no regulations to bring home the many contract working dogs (CWDs) owned by private companies. While many contractors are doing a good job to care for and repatriate these animals, we would like to see some requirements in the government contracts for such private companies to ensure their well-being and return them to U.S. soil, again for adoption by their former handlers if possible.

A second and vitally important issue is the veterinary care for these hero dogs, regardless of contract or military classification. While the Secretary of Defense may establish a system for the medical care of retired working dogs, such regulations prohibit federal funding.  We call on the private sector to embrace the health and wellbeing of these retired hero dogs by funding a veterinary care program with American Humane Association.

This is why we are taking to Capitol Hill today with three military hero dog teams we recently reunited, including Sgt. Harrington and Ryky, to talk about the need to bring home all of our warrior dogs and reunite them with their hero handlers.

American Humane Association has been working with Mission K9 Rescue to bring home these hero dogs so they, too, can enjoy a hero’s welcome and a happy, healthy retirement after a lifetime of service to their country. In June Sgt. Harrington was reunited with Ryky. Now, he says he plans to “let her be a dog and chill out on the couch – she’s earned it.”

We think all war dogs have.


This article originally appeared on Fox News on June 23, 2014. 

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Congress Green-Lights Mobile Veterinary Clinics to Expand Services

Have you ever seen a mobile veterinary clinic? Most people would answer, “yes.” Did you know that the services veterinarians at those clinics can legally perform is severely limited? My guess is most people would answer, “no.”

Presently, under the Controlled Substances Act—enforced by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency—the transportation and administration of “controlled” drugs by veterinarians outside of a registered location is prohibited.  In essence, a licensed veterinarian cannot take a majority of his or her lifesaving medicines to animals in need.  Instead, the animals have to be brought to a stationary facility.

That is all about to change thanks to the bi-partisan support of the U.S. Congress.  On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which mirrors the U.S. Senate version passed on January 8.

The bill allows a veterinarian to “transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than such veterinarian’s principal place of business or professional practice, as long as the dispensing site is located in a state where the veterinarian is licensed to practice.”

Once signed into law by the President, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will allow veterinarians to provide much-needed care to a host of animals in desperate need—from dogs and cats in rural areas of the country to ranchers who cannot feasibly transport livestock to stationary clinics. The greatly-expanded suite of services that veterinarians will be able to administer without fear of retribution will go a long way in the humane treatment of animals by paving the way for sick animals to receive care that might not otherwise be feasible.  Passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act is a common-sense solution that should be applauded.

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No Happy Ending for Foxes in Louisiana

#savethefox - American Humane Association

If you’ve ever watched the movie, “The Fox and the Hound,” you’ll remember when Tod the fox and Copper the hound agreed, “We’ll always be friends forever!”

American Humane Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals sent thousands of signatures to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in hopes that he would veto House Bill 390, which declares inhumane fox pen hunting  “part of folklife heritage of the state.”

Instead, HB 390 was signed into law, preserving the state’s connection to an inherently cruel blood sport.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should rightly be proud of as it relates to their rich heritage, and those things should be recognized and celebrated. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning can lead to increased disease transmission, posing a risk to public health and safety.

HB 390 runs counter to the best interests of the public and the animals of Louisiana, and is out of step with the growing numbers of states, municipalities, and everyday citizens who believe in preserving the positive parts of their heritage.

Just recently, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this cruel practice. It was American Humane Association’s hope that Louisiana would have joined Virginia in moving forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

Sadly, however, it seems that while Tod had friends in the Virginia legislature, he surely didn’t have them in Louisiana.


American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Animal welfare: There are three humane choices for egg-laying hens

The egg has always generated conversation, beginning with its debatable role preceding the chicken. Recent news and legislation advance the chicken-egg relationship further by defining space requirements and additional welfare considerations for egg-laying hens and other farm animals.

Unfortunately, some important issues have been lost in the debate.

Many egg producers, retailers and consumers are concerned that mandating only one type of egg production as meeting humane standards could create serious issues. For example, mandating cage-free eggs as the only type of humane eggs could increase the cost of eggs to the point of being unaffordable for many people.

Consumers should have food choices that are safe, affordable and humane. American Humane Association certifies 90 percent of all cage-free eggs in the United States; however, we support — and certify — three kinds of egg production that meet rigorous humane standards, as defined by independent leading scientific experts.

Although cage-free eggs are one of the humane choices, the new enriched colony housing system provides a reasonably priced, humane alternative to conventional caged eggs. Other humane egg-production systems provide free range and pasture access for laying hens.

In each certified housing system, hens move about freely, engage in natural behaviors and have enrichments such as nest boxes, perches and scratch areas, allowing a chicken to be a chicken.

  • Enriched colony housing provides a small flock of birds room to move about freely and express their natural behaviors. More and more farmers are converting from old cramped cages to this humane housing for hens as retailers and consumers expect higher animal-welfare standards.
  • Cage-free systems give hens room to roam around on litter, elevated perches, nest boxes and areas to peck and scratch. Hens in cage-free housing may have access to the outdoors.
  • Free-range and pasture systems provide birds with daytime access to outdoor areas. The hens have access to sheltered areas at night and during inclement weather. Eggs that have the American Humane Certified label “free-range” require at least one acre per 2,000 hens. Eggs that have the American Humane Certified label “Raised on Pasture” require at least two and a half acres per 1,000 hens. Pastures must be rotated regularly. Hens must be provided water, shade and shelter from predators and wild birds.

American Humane Association is the only animal-welfare organization certifying three different humane choices for eggs, recognizing that retailers and consumers should have humane egg choices that are not only safe and affordable, but ethical and defensible. We expect all producers who raise hens for eggs to prioritize the care of their birds in order to achieve the finest quality eggs.


This article originally appeared on The National Provisioner on June 14, 2014.

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American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana

American Humane Association vehemently opposes the recent vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives that would allow inhumane fox pen hunting. Here is the letter we sent political leaders there. Please join us by adding your name!

savethefox

American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana. Join the cause!

American Humane Association adamantly opposes the vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives in favor of House Bill 390, which would declare fox pen hunting – an inhumane practice – as "part of the folklife heritage of the state." We urge the Louisiana Senate to stand up for animal welfare and not to follow in the path of its brethren in the Louisiana House.

Such an affirmation by the state's legislature, which should be promoting public health and safety as well as the humane treatment of animals, clearly sends the wrong message to the public.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should be rightly proud of relating to their rich heritage and those things should be recognized appropriately. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning may lead to increased disease transmission.

Just last month, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this practice. It is American Humane Association's sincere hope that Louisiana joins Virginia in electing to move forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

American Humane Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals, and to unleashing the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both. We would be pleased to discuss this or any related matters with you or any other members of the Louisiana State Legislature.

Dr. Robin Ganzert
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Humane Association

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3,725 signatures

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American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana

American Humane Association vehemently opposes the recent vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives that would allow inhumane fox pen hunting. Here is the letter we sent political leaders there. Please join us by adding your name!

savethefox

American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana. Join the cause!

American Humane Association adamantly opposes the vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives in favor of House Bill 390, which would declare fox pen hunting – an inhumane practice – as "part of the folklife heritage of the state." We urge the Louisiana Senate to stand up for animal welfare and not to follow in the path of its brethren in the Louisiana House.

Such an affirmation by the state's legislature, which should be promoting public health and safety as well as the humane treatment of animals, clearly sends the wrong message to the public.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should be rightly proud of relating to their rich heritage and those things should be recognized appropriately. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning may lead to increased disease transmission.

Just last month, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this practice. It is American Humane Association's sincere hope that Louisiana joins Virginia in electing to move forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

American Humane Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals, and to unleashing the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both. We would be pleased to discuss this or any related matters with you or any other members of the Louisiana State Legislature.

Dr. Robin Ganzert
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Humane Association

[signature]

3,725 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

Bookmark and Share