Retirement with Dignity

statues of 4 dogs and a soldier at the military dog national monument
Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, San Antonio, Texas

Texans recently amended their state constitution to allow police K-9 handlers to adopt their dogs when the dogs retire from active duty.

That it required a constitutional amendment is a bit shocking, but kudos to Texans for doing the right thing.

Illinois passed a similar law not long ago, as did the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m still trying to find out how many other states and cities need to pass these laws.

The issue is that in many places, police K-9s are considered, and treated as, equipment. Police officers don’t get to keep their old weapons, cars, handcuffs, etc. And the dogs were lumped in with all that stuff.

It’s clearly a horrible approach and a despicable way to treat a partner.

The US military only changed its policies in 2000 to allow placement of retiring dogs with adoptive families — and only funded repatriation of these dog heroes in 2016.

With all the attention showered on Conan, the dog who participated in the recent raid that killed an ISIS leader, it’s clear that Americans value working dogs and their service. I’m sure most people would be horrified to know that many of the dogs don’t get the retirement they deserve. I’m going to follow this issue and see what I can learn about how other states treat their dog heroes.


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