The widow of Army Specialist Jake Carlberg, whose K9 partner Abby was improperly given to a private company that tried to sell her to a foreign government, said on Sunday she was not contacted by the Defense Department Inspector General during the recent investigation of mishandled military dog adoptions.
Glenna Carlberg, Jake's widow and the mother of their two young sons, Ian and Gavin, told the Washington Free Beacon investigators didn't reach out to her. She believes they didn't take her husband's story seriously.
"They did not," she said. "Which doesn’t surprise me because honestly, I don't believe they find it to be as big of a deal as we all do."
Jake and Abby served more than a year in Afghanistan as part of the TEDD (tactical explosive detector dogs) program. Glenna said the two served their country with distinction and formed an unbreakable bond.
"He would always say that she was his best friend," she told the Free Beacon last year. "They searched for bombs for his company. … They found seven."
When Carlberg returned home and Abby was retired from service in early 2014, the family made efforts to adopt her. However, instead of following their own policy on adoptions and giving Jake preference in reuniting with Abby, Army officials gave her and a dozen other TEDD dogs to Soliden Technologies, a private company. Soliden then engaged in a scheme involving an international security contractor, a former Secret Service assistant director, and a plan to sell the dogs to foreign governments for a hefty sum.
The Carlbergs were able to track Abby to Soliden after they took control of her. Glenna said, however, that Soliden's owner Dean Henderson had confirmed to Jake that he had Abby and would be willing to give her back. But each time Henderson told Jake he could come and pick her up, something would change at the last second.
"We had our child three months early so he was on leave," she told the Free Beacon last year. "He offered to drive to Michigan to get her. He offered to drive to Virginia to get her."
"At that point, Dean just stopped responding."
Jake eventually became resigned to the fact that Henderson would never give Abby back to him. In October 2014, he posted a picture of him and Abby on patrol in Afghanistan. When asked by a friend where Abby was, he responded "Ecuador or Panama," as that's what Henderson had led him to believe.
In truth, Abby was at Mount Hope Kennel in Virginia with most of the other dogs Soliden had been given by the military. Soliden had tasked kennel owner Greg Meredith with rehabbing the dogs to get them healthy and back into working shape. When the scheme fell through, the company ended up abandoning the dogs and the $150,000 bill Meredith racked up caring for them—even telling him to "dispose" of the dogs.
Instead of disposing of the dogs, Meredith worked with military dog charities to find their former handlers and reunite them. Many were able to find a happy ending.
Jake was not as fortunate. On Feb. 12, 2015, two years after the Army violated its own adoption policy by denying him Abby, Jake Carlberg died in a car accident.
Abby and the other dogs that ended up abandoned by Soliden at the Mount Hope Kennel were part of the larger mishandling of TEDD dog adoptions that the Defense Department focused on in its report. Despite the emotional and financial damage done by the Army's mishandling of the Soliden adoptions, the situation is only briefly touched upon in 3 paragraphs of the 69-page report.
Today, thanks to Meredith, Abby is back home with Glenna, Ian, and Gavin. Her presence provides the family with some peace.
"Abby is great!" Glenna said. "She loves everyone she comes into contact with and when our Army family comes to visit they feel relieved because she had their back as well! So, it’s definitely comforting."
Glenna still wants more to be done to make things right. Or, at the very least, an apology.
"Until Soliden gives back all the money to Meredith and gives us at least an apology, especially me because [Henderson] gave us the run around and because of him Jake missed out on being reunited with her, it will never be enough," she said.
She said she keeps speaking out because she knows Jake would want his story to be told.
"He would be so proud knowing his voice is getting heard," Glenna said.