On Monday, the U.S. Army confirmed that dogs which had been utilized for sniffing out roadside bombs in Afghanistan had been mistreated after their return to the United States. The U.S. Army said it would follow recommendations listed in a Defense Department Inspector General’s report.
Army spokesman Major Christopher Ophardt emailed Reuters, “The Army concurs with the DoDIG (Defense Inspector General) report and is complying with” the report’s recommendations.
According to the report, some of the dogs involved were held in kennels for almost a year, well past the deadline for offering them for adoption or a transfer to another military use of their service. The report also stated that some of the dogs had been put down.
Additionally, some dogs were adopted by owners who had not been properly vetted; some dogs which were known to bite had been farmed out to families with children, while others were offered to owners without the wherewithal to support their care. Some soldiers who desired to keep their dogs were informed that they could not.
After spending billions of dollars, the Pentagon revealed in 2010 that the military’s best bomb detectors were dogs, better than drones, metal detectors, chemical sniffers, or super spycams. As Wired reported at the time, “The American military only locates about 50 percent of the improvised explosives planted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that number jumps to 80 percent when U.S. and Afghan patrols take dogs along for a sniff-heavy walk. "
In February 2016, The New York Post ran a story about a company that had the government contract for Army dogs and allegedly secretly handed them over to civilians. The Post stated that at least 200 military handlers had dogs which were secretly dumped out to civilians by the company.