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Hundreds of U.K. Military Dogs Killed, Not Retired

A guard dog at a British military base in Iraq. (Photo from the Daily Mirror)

There’s outrage in the U.K. over the number of military working dogs who are routinely destroyed, rather than retired, when they return from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror reports that 807 dogs have been killed, rather than retired, in the last ten years, after completing their tour of duty in the two wars.

Many of them were entirely healthy, but were simply considered too fierce to be adopted as pets.

Our View: So place them in a good sanctuary and let them live out their retirement in peace!

The two main duties of military dogs are sniffing out explosives and guarding bases. Most sniffer dogs are placed in good homes when they retire – often with the family of their handler. But the guard dogs are not.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the British Ministry of Defense revealed that roughly half the dogs destroyed in 2009 and 2010 were put down because of behavioral issues or old age. A spokesperson for the military said:

“Military working dogs play an invaluable role in Afghanistan and are much loved by troops.

“Most are rehomed after their service but regrettably some have to be put down because of serious illness or injury.

“The increased number being put down reflects the greater numbers of dogs helping to protect our troops on the front line.”

In fact, the increased number being put down reflects nothing more than the military’s choosing to kill them rather than provide for them.

Member of Parliament Kerry McCarthy said, “This is shocking. It seems a great shame that animals are destroyed in this way. We need to make sure that every effort is made to find them new homes.”

Our View: It’s bad enough that ANY healthy dog is being killed, but to destroy a dog who has been conscripted into a war is beyond immoral.