Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) discussed legislation Thursday morning in Hartford that would benefit military working dogs after their service on the battlefield is over.
“Military working dogs routinely patrol ahead of the line — put in harm’s way to protect our troops,” Blumenthal said. “They show extraordinary strength and loyalty every day in saving the lives and limbs of our war fighters on the battlefield. These courageous comrades help detect and disarm roadside bombs and IEDs — some of the deadliest threats to our troops.”
The bipartisan legislation would improve the adoption process for retired military working dogs. They are currently classified as equipment in the military, which leaves "the dogs’ adopters or individual military units to bear the cost of transportation," according to a press release from Blumenthal’s office.
In the new legislation, all dogs would be transferred to the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The retired military dogs would travel to "the base by commercial air by using donated travel benefits also used to facilitate the travel of our service members," according to the release.
A Retired Military Working Dogs Veterinary Care Fund would be set up for donations that will provide care for the animals.
“Retired military working dogs often continue to serve at home in offering companionship and care to war fighters,” Blumenthal said. “For their service abroad, these dogs deserve their loyalty and dedication to be returned when they are home.”
The bill would also would allow the Department of Defense to honor military dogs for their service to this country, the release stated.
"The Connecticut National Guard is proud of the fact we are the only state where a unit of the reserve component owns and operates a military working dog unit,” said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard. “This is just the right thing to do for both our soldier handlers and their hard-working battle buddy.”