A congressman is calling for an investigation into the mismanagement of the adoption process for military dogs.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R., N.C.) sent a letter to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee asking for a formal investigation into adoption procedures for dogs from the Tactical Explosive Detector Dog program. Allegations that former handlers looking to adopt the dogs are being overlooked while the dogs are being sold to civilian families instead have cast shadows over the adoption process.
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Both the Office of Provost Marshal General, which oversaw the adoptions, and K2 Solutions, which housed the dogs during the process, have come under scrutiny for their role in the program.
"This problem came to my attention a year and a half ago when I helped reunite Specialist Brent Grommet and his military working dog Matty who were separated after being wounded overseas," Rep. Hudson said in his letter. "Since then, my office has been contacted by countless veterans who have described the mismanagement of the program. Our veterans selflessly put themselves in harm’s way with their military working dogs, yet too many of them are now separated because of hollow promises from our government. They deserve answers, and it’s for this reason that I am requesting the House Armed Services Committee to launch a formal inquiry into the adoptions of these combat dogs."
Jeff DeYoung, a former Marine dog handler, said he experienced years-long delays when attempting to adopt his dog from K2 Solutions. "For four years I continuously tried to email this company asking about where he was," DeYoung said. "‘Is Cena still alive? Is he OK?’ They wouldn't respond to anything."
DeYoung, who ultimately succeeded in adopting his dog, said that of the 13 other handlers with whom he deployed, he is the only one who has been successful in such an effort.
Animal welfare activists said an investigation into the adoption process is important because reuniting military dogs and their handlers can be a life-saving form of therapy.
"We are hopeful that through Rep. Hudson's urgings, that the House Armed Services Committee thoroughly examines procedures surrounding the adoption programs, ensuring more four-legged warriors are reunited with their two-legged battle buddies," said Robin Ganzert, president of the American Humane Association. "The bonds they create on the battlefields live on, and their shared sacrifice should be protected and rewarded."
K2 Solutions insisted that it is not to blame for problems with the process and said it welcomes an investigation.
"Please understand that due to contractual restrictions, we are not at liberty to discuss the details of the program or the people who administered it," the company said in a statement. "We would, however, welcome an official governmental investigation of how the adoption of the TEDD dogs was conducted."
"As the dogs came back from deployment, they were kenneled and cared for at K2 while the Office of the Provost Marshall General (OPMG) and DPMS set up and administered the adoption process," the statement continued. "An OPMG representative was present at K2 during all of that time to provide governmental oversight of the disposition of the dogs. K2 played no role and had no say in the adoption process of any of the dogs. K2 simply turned the dogs over to the government-approved recipients."