Last Friday on my Facebook page I posted breaking news about the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. The act, which was incorporated into the house version of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House of Representatives handily.
This is wonderful news, but it is NOTover yet! Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act is far from being reality. The next step for the bill is parallel legislation in the Senate.
According to www.Govtrac.us, the bill only has a 4% chance of passing the Senate. (It should be noted that they gave the bill a 2% chance of passing the House, so we have doubled our odds!)
The bottom line, though, is that the fight to get this bill passed isn’t over.
Our military dogs don’t have a voice. They need you to contact your senators to tell them that the current policies are antiquated. Below are the senators who have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill:
Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR] (joined Mar 05, 2012)
Sen. Jon Tester [D-MT] (joined Mar 08, 2012)
Sen. Mark Begich [D-AK] (joined Mar 12, 2012)
Sen. Charles Schumer [D-NY] (joined Mar 19, 2012)
Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] (joined Mar 27, 2012)
Sen. Kent Conrad [D-ND] (joined Mar 28, 2012)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI] (joined Apr 24, 2012)
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-VT] (joined May 16, 2012)
Sen. Tom Udall [D-NM] (joined May 17, 2012)
One of the problems is that there is a lot of misinformation out there, even from places that mean well. They are confusing the issue. Even the ASPCA and Save a Vet, plus several people on change.org, have gotten it wrong.
I mentioned this weekend on my Facebook page that I had written the ASPCA about their call to arms for this bill. An email that the ASPCA sent out began with Military Dogs Should Be Adopted, Not Abandoned.
As I told them in my correspondence,
“Your call to arms is a complete misrepresentation of this wonderful act. It is also an insult to the thousands of military dogs that have been adopted by wonderful people since the Robby Law was passed. Please change it to accurately depict the purpose of the act.
An online petition has already been started on www.change.org in which they quote your call to arms. You are promulgating an idea that our dogs aren’t adopted or cared for when they retire. This is false. The act is meant to enhance this care and streamline their adoption and properly care for them upon retirement.
The military dog program is full of animal lovers. Your call to arms is an insult to us all and prevents us from supporting your initiatives to garner support for the act.
Again, I urge you to do the right thing here. Set the record straight. I would love to jump on your bandwagon through my website.”
Writing the email and sending it made me feel better. But did it do anything? One thing I know is that I can’t find that misinformed call to arms on the ASPCA web site any longer.
OK, a little more ranting for you.
Even Save a Vet, which is a great organization, got it wrong on their petition. They have almost 1,100 supporters.
And this week I wanted to start a petition on www.change.org in support of the bill but was disappointed with the petitions already created to support the act. They had such calls to arms as:
- Help our military get working dogs adopted, instead of euthanized! (652 supporters; started by Ilya Bukshteyn)
- Congress: Stop euthanizing military dogs — instead allow the dogs to be adopted (only three supporters)
- Retire Military Dogs – Don’t Kill Them (956 supporters; started by Annie Hughes)
There are many more and I could go on with my list, but I think you all get my gist. I didn’t start my own for three reasons:
-I questioned their utility
-I was just disheartened to see so many BS ones already on the site
-I didn’t want to further confuse folks
The true story is that military dogs have been saved from being euthanized at the end of their service since Robby’s Law was adopted by Congress in 2000. Since then, it is the law of the land that military working dogs be available for adoption by their trainers, their trainer’s famlies, or by qualified members of the public.
The problem now is that, although there are many people who want to adopt these dogs, their veterinary care and transport to their new homes can carry prohibitive costs. This law would change that by making these valuable dogs no longer pieces of equipment but “canine members of the armed forces. It also provides for their care and transport through fundraising efforts, not through additional costs to the taxpayer. An awesome thing about the ASPCA is this link. They have made it so easy to send a letter to your Senator. So please click on this link and write your senator. You can do it in less than one minute. Can you spare one minute for a four-legged vet?
I urge you all to help me spread the truth about the purpose of this bill. If you know any of these people or know someone from Save a Vet, please urge them to correct their petitions. Please have them contact me and I will be happy to rewrite it for them.
OK, lets take it back to what is important—the dogs! Please write you Senators. Use this link to do so. It takes about a minute!
Please comment and let me know you sent a letter to your Senator!
Should I start my own petition?
Is there any utility to this www.change.org site?
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