UPDATE: The Pentagon on Tuesday refuted claims that U.S. Military contract dogs were left behind in cages at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. Instead, they acknowledged that personal pets might have been left behind.
“The U.S. priority mission was the evacuation of U.S. citizens, SIV [participants in a special visa program] and vulnerable Afghans,” said Defense spokesman Eric Pahon. “However, to correct erroneous reports, the U.S. military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, to include the reported ‘military working dogs.'”
“Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the U.S. military. Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde [withdrawal] mission, U.S. forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible.”
Animal rights group American Humane has blasted the Biden administration for allegedly leaving U.S. Military contract dogs in Afghanistan, effectively handing down a “death sentence” to the animals.
Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, released a statement Monday condemning the apparent decision to leave the animals behind.
“I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies,” Ganzert said. “These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned.”
The CEO said the organization is ready to help these animals escape their fate of death.
“This senseless fate is made all the more tragic, as American Humane stands ready to not only help transport these contract K-9 soldiers to U.S. soil but also to provide for their lifetime medical care,” American Humane said.
The organization has “worked hand in hand with the military for more than 100 years to rescue military animals,” Ganzert continued. “In fact, our famed rescue program began on the bloody battlefields of WWI Europe, at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War.” Notably, American Humane was founded back in 1877.
“Since that time, American Humane served as a pioneer in the development of animal therapy for returning veterans, and today brings home retired military working dogs and pairs veterans with life-saving service dogs.”
“As the country’s first national humane organization and largest certifier of animal welfare in the world, it sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” Ganzert said. “In order to prevent this tragedy from occurring, these K-9’s should be loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety.”
“Irrespective of the outcome, this gross oversight of justice must be stopped from happening again, as it did in Vietnam too,” the statement closed. “To that end, we call on Congress to take action to classify contract working dogs on the same level as military working dogs. Failure to do anything less, is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all.”
The American government is pulling out of #Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies. We stand ready to bring them home! Read our CEO @RobinGanzert's full statement: https://t.co/IKhBkm4B7a pic.twitter.com/ItFlthDTAi
— American Humane (@AmericanHumane) August 30, 2021
According to Fox News, Veteran Sheepdogs of America said its group was working to care for the contract dogs allegedly left behind, though their efforts have hit a stumbling block:
Joshua Hosler, president of Veteran Sheepdogs of America, said the organization was given 51 working dogs with the responsibility of getting them out of Kabul. The non-profit tweeted a photo last weekend of more than a dozen dog crates in front of a helicopter, which Hosler said was just a fraction of the canines left behind in the U.S. troop withdrawal, according to TMZ.
Hosler hoped to rescue the working dogs by raising $1.67 million – the cost for a 737 plane out of Kabul, the outlet reported. Early Tuesday, the non-profit tweeted it had funds for the plane, but an animal rescue organization fell through.
“So we are scrambling to cover their amount of $500,000 of the $1.67 million,” Veteran Sheepdogs of America wrote.
— Veteran Sheepdogs of America (@VetSheepdogsUS) August 29, 2021