After serving most of their life with the British Army, becoming war heroes along thousands of men and women, several dogs are put down to sleep when they’re deemed “unfit” to be re-homed into a healthy home.
According to figures obtained by the Daily Mail, 1042 military dogs have been euthanized since the start of the Afghanistan War. Animal lovers and activist are outraged by the numbers and are demanding the army to make a bigger effort when it comes to re-homing the dogs that are no longer of use in the troops.
The British Army uses highly trained dogs to track down explosives, find safe exits from buildings and tracking down insurgents. They usually work in the Army front until they reach their eight years, the age in which they’re deemed “unfit to the standard” as they’re “worn out,” according to military documents found by the Daily Star.
Most dogs are de-trained by professional handlers once they’re done with their service, and later re-homed into society, usually with Army veterans that were dog handlers and sometimes with the civilian population.
However, some dogs are not “suitable” to be in the outside world. Whether is because they’re considered dangerous, or because they’re too old, the dogs are put down without any consideration or a second chance in life to enjoy a peaceful existence.
Pen Farthing, a veteran that re-homes animals abandoned in Afghanistan through his charity, Nowzad, told the Daily Star:
“Any dogs that worked for the British military to help save lives in the various conflicts around the world, where they have served alongside a human handler, should be given every opportunity to ensure they are provided a decent retirement after being deemed ‘no longer fit for purpose’ by the military.”
“They had no choice but to be there and protect our soldiers. The least we can do is be there for them.”
On the other hand, a Military of Defense spokesperson said:
“Military working animals provide an invaluable service to our troops, and every effort is made to re-home them at the end of their service life. Decisions are taken following an extensive assessment of the animals and any potential new home. Sadly, there are some occasions where it is not possible to re-home an animal safely.”
There are currently under 400 dogs working with the Army. Many have served in conflicts in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia.
The requirements to re-home a military dog are strict, and according to reports, there’s a long waiting list of applicants willing to give these dogs a real home.