America's Most Elite Dogs
Exclusive 60 Minutes Report
This CBS special report gives you an exclusive glimpse into the very serious world of canine soldiers working abroad and at home, protecting American soldiers and citizens. In war zones, it is estimated that each MWD saves approximately 150 soldier lives.
In 2012, a landmark piece of legislation, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, was introduced to the House as House Bill 4103 and the Senate as Senate Bill 2134. This legislation was very important to the Military Working Dog (MWD), as it provided for them the following three rights:
1. The act would require retired MWDs to be transported to the 341st Training Squadron at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, or another suitable location, where the dogs could be placed up for adoption.
2. The act would require the establishment of a system for the veterinary care of retired military working dogs.
3. The act would name MWDs official members of the U.S. Armed Forces, allowing dogs who perform great acts of courage or merit during deployments to be recognized and decorated for their service.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 4103 in the spring of 2012, with the Senate following suit and approving Senate Bill 2134 in the fall. However, the good news was short-lived. As the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act became attached to the larger National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, a key part of the legislation was noticeably omitted before the President signed on the dotted line. “The Senate did not pass the full resolution,” said the President of the United States.
While retired MWDs are now guaranteed transportation and veterinary medical care so they can have the chance at a good home after returning to the U.S. from their deployments, the last part of the act — which would require MWDs to be classified as service members and decorated in a way that reflects their service and sacrifice — was left out.
Co-sponsors of the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), vow to reintroduce the reclassification issue in Congress soon.
As our knowledge of dogs has grown over the last two decades, so has how we train, value and even utilize this amazing resource. The huge dissappointment of military dogs not finally being recognized as soldiers is almost unfathomable.
Sources: WRAL.com, GovTrack.US, Khanrahan.com