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Save Our Hero Dogs

It is inhumane to treat military dogs as “equipment” and euthanize them after they’ve saved and loved our military members.

“Ryky, 8, is now officially retired from the military, her heroic and oftentimes hazardous duty behind her. But in the eyes of the military, she is categorized as ‘equipment’ by the Department of Defense, a tag that limits rights and privileges for such dogs once they step down from service and makes adoption from the military more cumbersome.

In 2012, Congress passed the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, which among other things established a system for the veterinary care of retired military working dogs. But removed from the legislation during its trip through the governmental process was a clause to reclassify military working dogs from equipment to canine members of the armed forces.

Ryky, Harrington and five other retired military working dogs and their handlers will make the rounds in Washington to rally support for tweaking the law.

‘She’s a retired veteran, not a piece of equipment,’Harrington said of Ryky.”

Additionally, these military handlers and military dogs form strong bonds. Surely our military go through enough without knowing their “dogs” will be killed by the very people they’ve served. Why must “adopters” pay for military dogs to be transported from overseas to America? The US military can’t find room for a retired military dog on any flights home? The US military can’t afford to transport these retired military dogs home? They just can’t find a few extra bucks to bring these military dogs homes so their former handlers, or other Americans can adopt them? Really?! This is an injustice not only to the dogs, but also to all the military units these dogs protect. It is time these dogs are reclassified and for the military to pay their transport home.

If you doubt the bond between handler and dog, here is Harrington & Ryky’s adoption story.

“‘She remembers my voice,’ an exuberant Harrington said. ‘I got my partner back. It’s too good to be true.’

‘I just hope I can hold it together,’ the war veteran said as he waited at the concourse for Ryky to arrive.

The two have been through a lot together. Ryky was awarded the K-9 Medal for Exceptional Service for helping injured soldiers escape an ambush in Afghanistan. According to the citation, on July 6, 2011, Ryky and Harrington were traveling in a convoy that came under attack. Without regard for their safety, Harrington and Ryky got out of their vehicle and cleared a path to the damaged lead vehicle, allowing medical personnel to render first aid to two wounded soldiers, the citation says.

The sergeant and his dog then cleared a safe path out of the ambush area and cleared a landing area for a medevac helicopter to land and evacuate the wounded, according to the citation.”

How can we call these hero dogs “equipment”?

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