UPDATE: Military Responds to Jonah Goldberg’s Article About Military Working Dogs Being Left Behind

SSG Robert Citrullo with his dog, Uran, after clearing a landing zone in southern Afghanistan.
Photo via Military Working Dogs Facebook page

[Editor’s Note: Last week, we linked to a story by Jonah Goldberg (which we have since taken off the Dogs page) about the plight of some military working dogs (MWD). Goldeberg’s article was shared widely and republished in countless media outlets, and many dog lovers were upset about claims that the military abandoned dogs overseas. Not so fast, say the folks at the Military Working Dogs Community, who posted this long rebuttal on their Facebook page. It seems that, at the very least, Goldberg’s story was misleading. . . .]

We’ve recently been made aware of poorly written and misinformed news articles circulating that MWDs are being left behind in war zones. This status update from Sean Lulofs should clear up any questions you have:

So many of you have been sending me many different links from numerous national media websites and homegrown blogs regarding the Department of Defense Military Working Dog (MWD) Program leaving dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please be assured, those stories are false. The DoD has 100% accountability over every MWD in the program. Please also know that it is false that contractors who are on a DoD Contract Working Dog (CWD) contract are leaving dogs behind. The contracts require those dogs to be returned to the contractor upon completion of the contract.

There is Congressional oversight of the MWD program already and every dog which is removed from service must be reported to Congress in an annual report. The report includes not only how many dogs were taken out of service but also how they were removed from service, including all euthanasias.

What is occurring with dogs in the combat theater is that members of the military are taking stray, feral dogs as pets in violation of DoD policy. There have been several members who have become sick because of violating the policy and one even died from rabies. Those dogs are being left behind because they belong there.

Another thing that is occurring is that some contractors have been working with the Afghanistan and Iraq governments to sell dogs to those countries. Some of those dogs sold have been dogs which are extremely experienced and are already in the country. However, there have been very few of these occurrences.

Why is this important to clear up?

Because there are a very large number of media outlets putting this false information out to the public. The public then becomes enraged and begins to contact their Congressmen. Once a Congressional inquiry is opened, it sets off a long chain of events which ends up putting the inquiry into the hands of the DoD MWD Program offices. Those men and women who work in those positions across the four branches of service are very busy. They are the same people who are trying to run one of the most deployed programs in the military. Every time an inquiry goes to one of those offices, everything has to stop and they have to begin the chain of events to respond to the Congressman. This can literally steal over approximately 500 man hours away for one response. Now imagine what is happening when numerous inquiries are being sent in.

There is an approximate 15 month waiting period to adopt an MWD. So there is no shortage of people wanting to adopt these dogs and you can believe that if a dog can be adopted, it is.

So please, if you see these types of stories, rest assured, our MWDs are being properly cared for.

Sean Lulofs
-Question came in, I feel like a FB talk show host… LOL.

Have CWDs ever been left in Afghanistan?
– Yes, some have early on in the program. There are many reasons for this. Some CWDs were left in country to await for another handler. There were some CWDs that were euthanized due to medical conditions prohibiting their return to the United States and others were so old that they were in poor health. The CWD contracts used to not be under purview of the DoD MWD Program Manager but now all CWD contracts must be reviewed before they can be finalized for execution.

15 thoughts on “UPDATE: Military Responds to Jonah Goldberg’s Article About Military Working Dogs Being Left Behind”

  1. Glad to hear this, I’m not sure but I think there is a foundation that helps connect these pups to good homes when the are retired. If you have any info on this please email me, thank you.

    1. The reports of MWD’s or CWD’s being left behind is absolutely false. Last Decemeber AMK9 spent a great deal of money and ensured that any dog that was no longer being utilized on contracts was returned back to the United States. Upon arrival, every single dog (94) was fully assessed for either workability or as an adoption candidate. Several of those dogs have been placed in homes all across the U.S. to live happily in retirement. For more information on the adopting a retired working dog, feel free to contact me at ScottR@Amk9Academy.Com

      Please view this video,

      http://Www.vimeo.com/90366445

      Or google AMK9 Coming Home

  2. Selling these dogs to the Iraqi and Afghani government is no better than leaving them behind. Actually it’s worse. These American soldiers are being left behind for profit.

  3. If MWDs are retired overseas and not adopted, those are the dogs that I think are getting “lost” in the system. There is no formal requirement at this time to return those dogs to the US to then be adopted.

    1. The following (copied from this article) should be illegal-all MWD’s should be returned to the U.S. There is no way those countries would care for the animal as well as they would be in the U.S.-they are US citizens too!!!

      From article:
      Another thing that is occurring is that some contractors have been working with the Afghanistan and Iraq governments to sell dogs to those countries. Some of those dogs sold have been dogs which are extremely experienced and are already in the country. However, there have been very few of these occurrences.

  4. Also many times MWDs retired overseas are adopted by former handlers that are also located at that overseas location. After that dog is adopted overseas it is now a privately-owned animal and the cost of relocation to the US is incurred by the service member, not the US government, when they are transferred back to the US from that location.

  5. What can we do as US citizen to stop or change contracts OF CWD BEING SOLD to foreign countries. IF contract is broken, dogs are left on foreign soil to die. REFURRING to KUWAIT SITUATION. CAN WE TRYTO PUT STIPULATIONS IN THESE CONTRACTS. THESE K9 GSD NEED TO BE OVERSEEN WHEN ON FOREIGN SOIL. THESE DOGS ARE BEING SOLD AS A COMMODITY..

  6. Patrica Caminiti I have been writing my congressman Bill Posey about this! This must be stop, should be a easy fix if they want to work for our government. These dogs are heroes and should be treated as such

  7. I think it is cruel that these dogs are left in foreign countries and sold. They need to come home to our American country and be given the best care possible. What can we do?

  8. I work with DogsOnDeployment and try to find people to doggie sit for our soldiers while they’re serving our country. We were at a motorcycle rally today and a veteran told me that over a hundred dogs were shot instead of brought back home. It broke my heart and he told me the government says there’s not enough money to get them all back to America.

  9. Another thing that is occurring is that some contractors have been working with the Afghanistan and Iraq governments to sell dogs to those countries. Some of those dogs sold have been dogs which are extremely experienced and are already in the country. However, there have been very few of these occurrences. https://thammyxinh.vn/day-hoc-phun-xam-tham-my/

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