The US bomb-sniffing dogs that are deployed to foreign governments to help fight terrorism there, often go through hell on the spot. The animals are very poorly cared for and fed by the local authorities and lose the will to work. In many cases, the mistreatment has even led to the premature death of the dogs. At one point the US was aware of this nevertheless continued to send trained four-legged friends there. This has emerged from a shocking report that appeared at the end of last week.
The US has already spent millions of dollars on training bomb-sniffing dogs. Training a dog costs on average 26,000 dollars. In addition, the US government provides $500,000 per year to the recipient countries to train ‘mentors’ to assist the dogs.
At present, 170 quadrupeds are active in the anti-terrorism program of thirteen partner countries. They end up in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand. According to the report, however, the Americans have not built in any procedures to monitor the health and proper treatment of the animals on the spot with all the consequences that entail.
Jordan, for example, received 61 highly trained dogs to be used in anti-terrorist operations near the Syrian border, but the care of the animals left much to be desired.
There is the case of Mencey, a Mechelen shepherd who arrived in Jordan in July 2017. However, the three-year-old dog did not stand a chance to perform his task of detecting bombs. Mencey was the victim of many ticks and sand flies but hardly received any care.
After a year, the dog was re-transferred to the center in Virginia where he received his training, but there was no longer any help. There the dog had to be euthanized. Less than a year after he left for Jordan, Mencey died of the negligence of the country where he was sent to secure him.
Athena, a two-year-old Malinois, was found malnourished in Jordan by American officials and was evacuated to the US in time for her recovery but for Zoe, things didn’t turn out so well. The animal died from a heat stroke near the Syrian border barely a year after arriving in Jordan.
Already in 2016, there was mention of the mistreatment of the dogs in Jordan, yet the American government continued to send four-legged friends there, according to researchers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The dogs were kept there in appalling conditions. The overworked animals starved or became seriously ill in kennels full of faeces. The animals lost the courage and the will to work, and many of them died.
But this report can’t possibly be ignored. Yet the US refuses to stop the program. A Jordanian official told CNN that an investigation into the welfare of the dogs was underway, and that “external parties are also being involved”.
“Jordan takes the welfare of its bomb-sniffing dogs very seriously,” he concluded. The US has sent two veterinarians to Jordan. They will work there for at least a year. Cost: 540,000 dollars.
Moreover, the report does not state how dogs are living in other partner countries because the necessary documents are lacking.