K-9 Hoax: TRUTH behind viral reports that US left behind service dogs in Kabul
Charity American Humane was the first to condemn the 'death sentence' for the animals who were allegedly left behind in Afghanistan
Dozens of dogs have reportedly been abandoned by the United States in Afghanistan, along with hundreds of American citizens and billions of dollars worth of military equipment, but the Pentagon is denying reports that the US military left service dogs behind in cages at Kabul airport following its withdrawal from the war-torn country.
Non-profit American Humane was the first to condemn the "death sentence" for the animals who were allegedly left behind in Afghanistan, noting how they could now face "torture" at the hands of the Taliban, who seized control of Kabul earlier this month. The organization called on Congress to rescue all dogs, including the ones Pentagon's Press Secretary John Kirby said belonged to the Kabul Small Animal Rescue charity, which was founded by American Charlotte Maxwell-Jones.
"To correct erroneous reports, the US Military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs," Kirby tweeted on Tuesday, August 31. "Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care."
To correct erroneous reports, the U.S. Military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs. Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 31, 2021
This came after American Humane claimed that the military had left behind working dogs while pulling out of Kabul. “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. We stand ready to bring them home,” the organization tweeted on Monday, August 30.
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
Fox News host Dana Perino confronted Kirby about the claims on Tuesday. At the time, he said he was not aware of the reports of dogs left behind. “I did not know there was an issue with military working dogs. Obviously, we are partial to our working dogs and they’re heroes in their own right,” he said.
However, according to a recent update from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Maxwell-Jones has been campaigning to evacuate 46 working dogs along with a number of canines that were pets of fleeing Americans from Kabul.
A statement released by Kirby stated that the military was unable to rescue the additional animals from Kabul before the final US plane left the Kabul airfield on Monday. Working dogs are not considered US military dogs, but many were used by the military in activities in Afghanistan.
The @JoeBiden Administration must get abandoned working dogs & other animals—& their caretakers—out of Afghanistan.— PETA (@peta) August 31, 2021
Join PETA in urging @POTUS to evacuate the dogs & cats, & their caretakers, who were left behind! https://t.co/itzc5jZa7g #NoPawsLeftBehind pic.twitter.com/mTrnQLvlXF
American Humane's CEO Robin R Ganzert responded to the apparent partial treatment 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," she said.
"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."
Ganzert highlighted that her organization had "worked hand in hand with the military for more than 100 years to rescue military animals," adding that they brought home "retired military working dogs and pairs veterans with life-saving service dogs."
According to the Daily Mail, American Humane has worked with the US military for more than a century to rescue stranded military animals, dating back to World War One. Working dogs are usually owned by private contractors to work alongside military dogs that are owned by the Department of Defense. They often perform similar duties, per the newspaper.