Sen. Blumenthal calls for enhanced care for retired military dogs

A Senate Democrat has unveiled legislation that would make it easier for military working dogs to get care and be honored for their service.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) rolled out the pooch-focused legislation Thursday in Hartford, Conn.


The legislation aims to establish tools that would “standardize” Defense Department policies on how retired military working dogs are transferred after leaving active duty. Blumenthal’s bill would set up a process where military K-9s without a permanent home would go to a Texas Air Force base to be used by a training squadron.

It also would create a “voluntary veterinary care fund” that would use “private donations” to allow DOD and private vets funds to care for retired military working dogs, according to his office.

The legislation also would “empower the Department of Defense to honor courageous or meritorious dogs, or those killed in action, through appropriate recognition such as a letter of commendation,” according to a statement issued by Blumenthal’s office.

A Connecticut National Guard unit owns and operates a military working dog unit. Blumenthal saw working dogs in Afghanistan searching for improvised bombs, and was contacted by K-9 personnel about the issue, his office said.

“Military working dogs routinely patrol ahead of the line — put in harm’s way to protect our troops. They show extraordinary strength and loyalty every day in saving the lives and limbs of our war fighters on the battlefield,” Blumenthal said in the statement.

“These courageous comrades help detect and disarm roadside bombs and IEDs – some of the deadliest threats to our troops. They are critical partners to our combat teams,” the senator said. “Retired military working dogs often continue to serve at home in offering companionship and care to war fighters. For their service abroad, these dogs deserve their loyalty and dedication to be returned when they are home.”