US military abandons dozens of service dogs after pulling out of Kabul
An animal charity has claimed that abandoning the dogs is a "death sentence" for them
Dozens of service dogs have been left in Afghanistan by the US according to an animal welfare group, who argue the animals will now face 'torture' at the hands of the Taliban.
American Humane has called on Congress to rescue the dogs, who are trained to perform a wide-range of duties alongside military dogs.
The group has condemned the abandonment of the animals, which they say is a "death sentence" for them.
The organisation's CEO Robin R Ganzert said in a statement: "I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave US 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.
"This senseless fate is made all the more tragic, as American Humane stands ready to not only help transport these contract K-9 soldiers to US soil but also to provide for their lifetime medical care."
American Humane has worked with the US military to rescue stranded military animals for more than 100 years, first working with them in World War I.
Working dogs are normally owned by private contractors to work alongside their military counterparts who are owned by the Department of Defense.
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. We stand ready to bring them home! Read our CEO @RobinGanzert's full statement: https://t.co/IKhBkm4B7a pic.twitter.com/ItFlthDTAi
— American Humane (@AmericanHumane) August 30, 2021
Ganzert added: "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."
He said the animals should have been "loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety".
"Irrespective of the outcome, this gross oversight of justice must be stopped from happening again, as it did in Vietnam too," he said.
"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."
— Manish Shukla (@manishmedia) August 31, 2021
Efforts are being made to try and bring the canines back to the US, with Veteran Sheepdogs of America trying to raise money to cover the cost of transporting the contracted military working animals to safety.
51 contracted military working dogs are safe & being cared for in their crates. We had all funds for the plane, but an animal rescue org fell through. So we are scrambling to cover their amount of $500,000 of the $1.67 million.
— Veteran Sheepdogs of America (@VetSheepdogsUS) August 31, 2021
Meanwhile in the UK, Pen Farthing has managed to make it back home with all of the animals that were being cared for by his charity Nowzad. The ex-marine had refused to leave Afghanistan without his animals, and it had recently looked as if he would be unable to get them out of the country.
However, he managed to raise £365,000 to charter a jet, and arrived at Heathrow on Sunday with all his animals. Sadly though, his staff were "not allowed through the final barrier," with the charity saying they will "do our utmost to help them."
Arrived Heathrow with partial success of #OpArk Mixed emotions & true deep feeling of sadness for Afghan today. Heathrow Ops centre, Border Force, HARC & Air Pets were all bloody amazing. Witnessed 1st hand the compassion Heathrow is showing Afghan refugees. 🙏🏼❤️#AboveAndBeyond
— Pen Farthing (@PenFarthing) August 29, 2021