Battle Over Adoption Rights to Retired Military Working Dogs

canine vets
They’re the unsung heroes of war—military working dogs (MWDs) who serve alongside our troops, sniffing out explosives and standing watch to protect their handler and their units.
MWDs will often serve multiple tours of duty, usually with different handlers. But what happens when the dogs are retired from the military? Popular opinion is the dogs should stay with their handlers, but that doesn’t always happen.
Robby’s Law
Sadly, MWDs were largely put down when they were through with their military service prior to the November 2000 enactment of Robby’s Law. Robby’s Law mandated all suitable MWDs be made available for adoption by “law-enforcement agencies, former handlers of these dogs, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs.” The order has since been amended with priority now going first to former handlers, followed by other persons capable of humanely caring for the animal, and law enforcement agencies.
Adoption priority hasn’t always been carried out in that order. The New York Post investigated several soldiers’ stories of being dodged or redirected when trying to adopt their MWDs upon the dog’s retirement.
Adoption Controversy
MWDs trained by K2 Solutions were adopted out at events when their government contract ended in February 2014. The dogs were adopted primarily by law enforcement personnel and civilians—but not by their handlers. This stems not from a lack of handlers wanting to adopt their MWDs but seemingly from a defiance of policy dictated by Robby’s Law.

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K9s For Warriors Rescues Dogs and Suffering Veterans

Most of us can’t imagine what it feels like to return from war with traumatic memories that make it difficult to live back at home. But Brett Simon does, and when his parents saw him struggling after serving two tours in Iraq, they knew they had to do something.

Brett Simon and his mother, K9s For Warriors Founder Shari Duval, are changing lives by pairing service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.

Brett Simon and his mother, K9s For Warriors Founder Shari Duval, are changing lives by pairing service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.

Simon worked as a bomb dog handler and was also a former K9 Police Officer, so his family started researching how a service dog might help. A service dog ended up being so helpful, the Duval family knew they had to share this help with others; it was here the non-profit K9s For Warriors was born.

“Brett is the reason we are so successful,” his mother and the organization’s founder Shari Duval says. “The veterans relate to him and trust him because he speaks their language.”

K9s For Warriors rescues dogs they think will be good service animals, targeting those with no time left. They often pick up dogs with less than a week left to euthanasia at local shelters. From there, professional trainers spend months with the dogs, teaching them to become certified service dogs.

“All of our trainers that work with the warriors have deployed and have a service dog, just like them,” Duval says. “It’s what sets us apart.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day! SPCA Adoption Event Today

Be my Valentine? These adorable puppies are hoping so!

Daisy Luna Vern

These cute little guys are at the SPCA of Monterey County, where adoptive pet parents can pick their price this Valentine’s Day.

Any dog, cat or bird four months or older is eligible for adoption. The animals have already been spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and gone through a health screening. This process typically runs several hundred dollars and adoption fees are normally between $35 and $290, but you can name your price today only!

Keep in mind, the SPCA of Monterey County is a non-profit group and can rescue more animals in need based on the donations and adoption fees they take in.

Black Dogs Project Highlights Overlooked Dogs

black dogs project It’s time to adopt a new furry family member and you head to the shelter to meet the available dogs. Wide-eyed pups wag their tails furiously while they wait in their crates, hoping for a second look and a forever home. You decide on the perfect dog for your family but feel a little sad for the ones left behind. What if you knew some of those dogs are passed by more often than others, and they tend to be the ones with dark coats?

That’s the sad reality photographer Fred Levy learned about one day at his local Boston-area dog park while chatting up another park-goer. It’s a phenomenon that’s been dubbed Black Dog Syndrome (BDS); black dogs tend to sit in the shelter up to four times longer than their lighter-haired counterparts. It couldn’t be true, he thought.

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Driven to Bark Campaign

Countless dogs are left unattended in cars every day. Did you know it doesn’t even have to be that warm outside for the temperature inside the car to become dangerous very quickly? Even at a comfortable 72 degrees outside, the interior of a car can reach 106 degrees within 30 minutes.

dogs in car with window cracked

Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach a deadly level fast; your dog can die from heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes of exposure.

And when it is hot outside, the temperature inside the car soars to a potentially deadly level within minutes, even with the windows cracked. Dr. Ernie Ward demonstrated how excruciating it is for a human, and that’s without a fur coat! Dogs can die from heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes of exposure to very hot temperatures.

Surprisingly, it is legal in most states to leave your dog unattended in a car; only 15 states have statutes in place discouraging the practice. But Petplan pet insurance wants to change that. They’ve launched an initiative called “Driven to Bark” through We the People, the White House’s online petition site.

Driven to Bark needs your support. The petition will be reviewed by White House staff if 100,000 signatures are gathered in 30 days. Signing the petition is very easy; just enter your full name, email address and then confirm your email address with a quick click inside the body of an email from We the People.

Please sign the petition and share this cause on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #DrivenToBark.

 

Woof & Wine a Success!

Thank you to all who came out to support NorCal GSP Rescue at this year’s Woof & Wine at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore. Several thousand dollars were raised to help GSP’s in need around the Bay Area. It was a beautiful setting at McGrail Vineyards; if you’ve never been, you have to check it out! They have a great shaded patio adjacent to the tasting room. GSP event 12More than 100 people came out to support the event and plenty of four-legged friends joined in on the fun, including Yellow Dog!

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Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days Success Stories

More than 15,000 animals were adopted nationwide during this year’s Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, and roughly 5,000 of those pets were adopted right here in the Bay Area.

Now we’re bringing you some of the local adoption stories!

maddie's days success story 1Here is Papi with new mommy Lara on the beach! Papi was all smiles after finding his new forever home Saturday. Papi ended up back in the shelter after his first owner developed Alzheimer’s and had to move into a home. Lara says he’s already very well-trained, loves fetch, treats and meeting new people. Papi came from the NorCal Poodle Rescue, an East Bay organization that rescues more than 100 poodles each year.

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Maddie’s Days a Roaring Success; More Than 15,000 Animals Adopted

More than 15,000 dogs and cats found forever homes this weekend during Maddie’s Days, the nation’s largest free pet adoption event. The Bay Area accounted for nearly 5,000 of those adoptions.

More than 200 shelters and rescues nationwide participated in the fifth annual Maddie’s Days, including 90 groups in the Bay Area.

Maddie’s Fund donates anywhere from $500 to $2000 per dog or cat adopted during Maddie’s Days. That money will be used by the participating shelters and rescues to save animals with special needs that might otherwise be euthanized.

Maddie’s Fund had earmarked $10 million for this year’s event with the goal of adopting out 10,000 animals. Surpassing that goal by about 5,000 pets means they will donate even more money.

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Free Pet Adoption this Weekend During Maddie’s Days

If you’re thinking about adding a furry family member to your pack anytime soon, this weekend is the time to do it!

female pit bulls maddie's days

Adoptable dogs pose for prospective parents at Maddie’s Days last year.

Adoption fees will be waived at participating rescue groups or shelters in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Francisco and Santa Clara County for two days, Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.

This is all thanks to Maddie’s Fund, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of companion animals. They give a rescue or shelter from $500 to $2000 per dog or cat adopted during Maddie’s Days, the nation’s largest free adoption event. Those funds allow for the care and rehabilitation of pets who might otherwise be euthanized.

Maddie’s Fund has set a goal of 10,000 adoptions during this year’s Maddie’s Days.

PrintIf you are interested in adopting a pet for free this weekend, 90 shelters and rescues in four Bay Area counties are participating in the event.

maddie's fund picA special event called “Rescue Row” will be held in San Francisco on Alabama Street, between 15th and 16th Streets. The event will feature food trucks, a beer garden, music and of course, adoptions! The San Francisco SPCA, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Northern California Family Dog Rescue and San Francisco Animal Care and Control, among others, will all be on hand with adoptable dogs and cats.

If you would like to learn more, visit the Maddie’s Days or Maddie’s Fund websites.