US Army says it mishandled war dogs

Report offers recommendations on reform

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U.S. Air Force dog handler Staff Sgt. Justin Schwartz, of St. Louis, sits on a hillside overlooking an village with his bomb-sniffing dog, Bleck, Oct. 14, 2009, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. The duo was assigned to soldiers of the U.S.…

The U.S. Army said Monday it has mistreated retired war dogs and will comply with a Defense Department Inspector General report calling for improvements, Reuters reported.

The report released Friday said the Army mishandled bomb-sniffing dogs that saved lives of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan after the animals returned to the United States.

The report said dogs were left in kennels for nearly a year, defying deadlines for adoption or reuse in the military or government, Reuters reported.

The dogs didn't receive sufficient care or attention, the report said, and some may have been euthanized, Reuters reported.

If the dogs did get new owners, Reuters reported, the Army did not screen the people before allowing the adoptions and gave the dogs to ill-equipped or inappropriate owners. Some dogs prone to biting were given to families with kids, for instance.

Additionally, some soldiers who wanted to adopt their canine companions were not told they had a right to do so, Reuters reported.

Recommendations in the report included ones as basic as telling unit commanders to follow Army regulations on handling the military working dogs, Reuters reported. The report said the Army should also keep better records of the dogs.

"The Army concurs with the DoDIG report and is complying with" its recommendations, Army spokesman Maj. Christopher Ophardt told Reuters in a statement.


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