This is a win for every dog, every veteran, and anyone with a conscience. As a part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), both sides of the political aisle in the House of Representatives and Senate, along with President Barack Obama himself, have signed a bill mandating that every military dog is returned to United States soil after retirement.
Furthermore, their human handlers and families will be given first priority for adoption. This is groundbreaking. How many times have we seen service men and women separated from the dogs that saved their lives?
Not only does this ensure the safety of these dogs of valor, it ensures their right to happiness in a familiar forever home.
According to the American Humane Association, each military dog saves between 150-200 soldiers’ lives by detecting IEDs and hidden weapons.
“This is a momentous day for all veterans,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association president and CEO. “We applaud Congress and the president for passing and signing the bill with the language we provided, and stepping up for our brave K-9 Battle Buddy teams who have benefited, and will continue to benefit, from their service together.”
This law will help honor military dogs like Bernie, a Belgian Malinois who was trained to sniff more than 14 different explosives. Her handler soldier, Bret Reynolds loved her while they were serving in Iraq and loved her all the more when they returned home together.
When Bernie passed away, Reynolds was able to honor her life as a hero through a special memorial service. Unfortunately, most military dogs do not go home with their handlers, they may never even return to the U.S., and they will never be honored. With this new legislation, they are now treated with the dignity that every soldier deserves.
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