November 10, 2015

Senate Passes Wyden Provision To Bring Retired Military Dogs Home after Overseas Duty

Washington, D.C. –The Senate included an amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., ensuring retired military dogs can return to the United States after serving America overseas, as part of a larger defense bill that passed today.

The provision is based on Wyden’s Military Working Dog Retirement Act, which requires the Department of Defense to arrange and pay for transportation of trained military dogs to the United States when their service abroad has been deemed no longer necessary, including because of injury. Currently, handlers and veterans who wish to reunite with their dogs generally have to cover the costs of bringing them back to the United States.

“Veterans shouldn’t face months of delays and thousands of dollars in costs to ensure their working dogs can come home with them, and not be stranded overseas,” Wyden said. “Dogs that serve our country and develop close bonds with our men and women in the military deserve to come back to America when their combat role is complete.”

The Defense Department estimates there are about 2,000 dogs currently working in the various branches of the military. United States military dogs are used in combat to sniff for roadside bombs and other explosive devices. Retired military dogs can require special care upon retirement and trained handlers often can best accommodate those unique needs.

The provision was included in a larger defense policy bill, which passed the Senate on Tuesday and is headed to the president’s desk. Sen. Wyden voted against the larger bill over objections to wasteful and unaudited military spending, and objections to a provision banning the closure of Guantanamo.