Dozens of military dogs end up being euthanized and denied a chance at being rehomed once found 'unfit for service'
Some of the dogs who were forced to retire and then euthanized were healthy animals but were judged by officials to be unfit for rehoming into civilian society.
Dogs have been used in military forces around the world for decades now but the story is the same in the majority of the cases when they are forced to retire from service in the military. Freedom of Information reports that in 2017 dozens of these loyal and hardworking military dogs were euthanized after they were deemed unfit for service by military officials and dog behavior experts. It was reported that a total of 41 dogs were culled when they could not perform the strenuous roles that they had been originally trained for by their handlers.
Mirror Online reported that many of these brave service dogs suffered from illnesses and chronic conditions. Other dogs who were forced to retire and then killed, however, were healthy animals but were judged by officials to be unfit for rehoming into civilian society.
Dogs on the force are more often than not exposed to highly traumatizing events when they are sent to work in war zones with their handlers to do dangerous work like looking for and clearing out explosives for the rest of the squadron. When it comes to homes, fortunately, 121 of the officially known Military Working Dogs were successfully rehomed in 2017 according to figures by Freedom of Information. 14 Military Working Horses were also reported to have been euthanized in the same year while 52 others were rehomed successfully.
Debbie Connolly, a dog behaviorist and founder of SafePets UK, has said that she believed some of the animals which were euthanized could have been spared the tragic fate. She said: "Occasionally I get them and put them through rehab. The problem is that the MoD don’t seem to be keen on working with anyone else. It’s just them deciding. I’m not pretending this is a fluffy bunny business where every dog can be rehabilitated. But they should be given the chance."
At the moment, there are hundreds of dogs working in the Force. The Ministry of Defence has said in a statement: "Every effort is made to rehome animals but at times it is not possible, for example when they pose a risk. Decisions are made following a full assessment by military veterinarians and dog behaviourist experts."