Tell Congress to help our K-9 Battle Buddies!

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Please help our K-9 Battle Buddies!

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing you today as a citizen concerned for the nation's military working dogs and contract working dogs. While the military generally does a good job of bringing home these brave four-legged warriors, there is still work to be done to ensure a safe ride home and retirement for ALL K-9 Battle Buddies.

Last week, American Humane Association, the first national humane organization and one that has been working with the military for a century, met with members of Congress and Senators on both sides of the aisle about the issues facing the brave dogs who serve our military.

Military and contract working dogs save lives on the battlefield and on the home front. We all agree that we must honor their service and ensure that they return home and make every effort to reunite them with their military handlers. It is estimated that each military working dog/contract working dog saves the lives of between 150-200 service members.

Most military working dogs do find their way back to American soil, especially because of the stellar efforts of the United States Air Force, but this is not always the case.

While the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 authorizes the transfer of a retiring military working dog if no suitable adopter is available at the military facility where the dog is located, the language says "may transfer" rather than "shall transfer" and no provisions are made whatsoever for contract working dogs in the Act.

The fact is that if a military working dog or contract working dog is retired in a non-combat zone overseas, that dog becomes a civilian and cannot travel on military transport.  The fact is that suitable adoption is also not defined.  The fact is that the Act only refers to military working dogs, with no reference to contract working dogs who serve in combat zones alongside the Marines and Army Infantry.

Once the dog does return home, its former handler(s) should be given the first right at adoption. If none of the dog's former handlers choose to adopt the dog, the handler community at large should then be given a chance at adoption, followed by the veterans' community.

Many veterans returning from war tragically suffer the hidden wounds of war known as post-traumatic stress, and these dogs with whom they bravely served on the hot sands of Iraq and Afghanistan and on bases around the world, can comfort them. The dogs themselves are not immune to PTS, and just as the dogs help the humans heal, the opposite is also true. The bond between handler and dog is unbreakable, and they deserve to be reunited.

I urge you; please support the legislation being drafted by Congressmen Bilirakis, LoBiondo, and Hudson. It is the least we can do for these four-footed veterans.

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Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]

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