The Pentagon shot down reports Tuesday that the U.S. military had abandoned dozens of military service dogs in Kabul while conducting its final withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday.
"The U.S. priority mission was the evacuation of U.S. citizens, SIV, and vulnerable Afghans. However, to correct erroneous reports, the U.S. military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, to include the reported 'military working dogs,'" a Defense Department spokesman told the Washington Examiner. "Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the U.S. military. Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde mission, U.S. forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible."
Kabul Small Animal Rescue is a "veterinary clinic and non-profit organization that has been helping animals in Afghanistan" in affiliation with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals since 2020.
According to its website, the group "is dedicated to providing safe, healthy boarding options for their rescue partners, who help international adoptions of Afghan cats and dogs. Through their veterinary clinic, they provide high-quality medical care to owned dogs as well as veterinary care, boarding and adoption options to injured or orphaned street animals. Their main focus is to provide a home-like environment for the animals in their care, so they employ overnight staff to keep their cats company and make sure their dogs get several hours of play and socialization every day through monitored playgroups."
News reports began circulating during the final days of the Biden administration's Afghan withdrawal that the military was leaving behind "dozens" of caged service dogs.
That claim appeared to originate with "Veteran Sheepdogs of America," another nonprofit organization, based in Colorado, and was widely circulated on social media.
The American Humane Society also released a statement criticizing the Biden administration for the alleged abandonment Monday evening.
"I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies. These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned," AHS CEO Robin R. Ganzert wrote. "American Humane has worked hand in hand with the military for more than 100 years to rescue military animals. In fact, our famed rescue program began on the bloody battlefields of WWI Europe, at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War. Since that time, American Humane served as a pioneer in the development of animal therapy for returning veterans, and today brings home retired military working dogs and pairs veterans with life-saving service dogs."
"As the country’s first national humane organization and largest certifier of animal welfare in the world, it sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse," the statement continues. "Irrespective of the outcome, this gross oversight of justice must be stopped from happening again, as it did in Vietnam too. To that end, we call on Congress to take action to classify contract working dogs on the same level as military working dogs. Failure to do anything less, is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all."
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Original Author: Christian Datoc