War Dog

Hello Donna,

I enjoyed reading the recent issue of the IAOPCC’s News & Views.  The dedication to your father was very touching.  He truly was a great man.

Thank you for printing the piece about Hartsdale’s War Dog Memorial Ceremony.  Speaking of military canines we recently learned about the Canine Member of the Armed Forces Act and I thought I would share the information with you and the IAOPCC for your consideration.

The Canine Member of the Armed Forces Act is legislation designed to honor and protect retired military working dogs (MWDs).  Right now, MWDs are classified as “equipment” by the U.S. Department of Defense.  This classification not only trivializes the heroic contributions these canines have made, it also makes it difficult to transport dogs serving in foreign lands  back to the United States for adoption once they are ready for civilian life.

The legislation reclassifies MWDs as “canine members of the armed forces” and creates a system of care for their retirement.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act in May but we were shocked to learn that identical bipartisan legislation (S.2134) is languishing in the Senate Committee on Armed Forces.  The bill has fewer than 20 Senate cosponsors.

The issue is non-political and is American as apple pie.  By simply raising awareness of the issue it is very likely that the legislation will gain enough support to pass.  Other national organizations are already behind this effort including the ASPCA.  We believe that the IAOPCC should support the campaign by encouraging individuals to contact their senators and urge passage.  Supporting this legislation will generate favorable publicity for the IAOPCC and its individual members as being pro-active for animal issues.

To accomplish that goal we drafted a news release template for your consideration (attached).  The intent would be for the IAOPCC to distribute the template to its members.  Members choosing to participate will simply insert their name in the designated areas and distribute to local news media outlets.  Members can also publicize the campaign in mailings to its plot-holders to maximize the influence on the legislation.  A template of a proposed letter to U.S. Senators urging them to cosponsor and support the legislation is provided by the ASPCA at www.aspca.org/militarydogs.

An interesting side note is that the legislation calls for all MWD’s to be transferred to the 341st Training Squadron at Lakeland Air Force Base in San Antonio – the site of the IAOPCC’s convention in September!

Please call me if you would like to discuss further!

Regards

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