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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