The U.S. Army on Monday pledged change after the Pentagon's inspector general found the military branch mishandled hundreds of war dogs after they retired from service.
The Army told Reuters it would comply with recommendations from the inspector general’s report, which included better preparations for retirement and properly screening prospective owners.
The Defense Department’s Inspector General determined in a report released Thursday that after canines were released from their duties as Tactical Explosive Detection Dogs (TEDD) when the program ended in 2014, soldiers who wanted to adopt their canine partners struggled or were unable to do so.
The dogs worked to support brigade combat teams to sniff out roadside bombs in Afghanistan.
Two of 13 dogs that were intended to be used as service dogs for veterans were given to a private company and later abandoned at a Virginia kennel.
Some soldiers complained they weren’t told they were allowed to adopt their dogs, thus sparking an investigation.
Congress amended the law in 2015 to give handlers top priority in adopting their dogs.
Those who did adopt the animals were not properly vetted by the military and the dogs were therefore placed in unsuitable homes, the report found.
Some dogs who had a history of biting, for example, were adopted by families with children. Other dogs were given to people who couldn’t properly take care of them.