Pentagon disputes claims that US left service dogs behind in Afghanistan | TeamDogs
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Pentagon disputes claims that US left service dogs behind in Afghanistan

An animal welfare group accused the US of handing ‘death sentence’ to working dogs

Tansy Liu

Posted 47d ago

Photo library image: a sniffer dog with US Army (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/Getty)

The Pentagon has denied that it has abandoned US military contract working dogs amid the hasty pullout of Afghanistan, despite previous reports and viral social media posts to the contrary.

American Humane, an animal welfare group, earlier accused the US of handing a “death sentence” to working dogs left behind by troops in Afghanistan, who could be “tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies”.

A spokesman from the Pentagon disputed claims that it did not evacuate all service dogs, while acknowledging the confusion caused by a series of social media posts about the civilian evacuation of pets from Kabul.

READ MORE: Pen Farthing angered over response to Afghan dog rescue

"To correct erroneous reports, the US military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, to include the reported 'military working dogs,'"  said Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the Defense Department.

On Monday, the president and chief executive officer of American Humane wrote an open letter criticising the military for allegedly leaving behind animals that had worked with the US during the operation.

The non-profit organisation has called upon the Congress to take action to classify working dogs on the same level as military working dogs. 

READ MORE: Pen Farthing's rescue animals could be ‘destroyed on arrival’ in UK

“Failure to do anything less is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all,” the statement read. “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.”

USA Today reported that animal evacuation efforts in Afghanistan have been riddled with misinformation, as pundits, lawmakers and conservative activists critical of the broader US withdrawal circulated images and started a hashtag on social media about allegedly abandoned military dogs.

READ MORE: Timeline: Pen Farthing escapes Afghanistan with 200 dogs and cats

The Defense Department further denied the allegation. Spokesman Eric Pahon said: "Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the US military. 

“Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde mission, US forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible.”

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