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US troops left dogs behind in Afghanistan to be ‘tortured,’ ‘killed’: NGO

Published: Updated:

The Biden administration has come under fire by US-based animal rights group after being accused of leaving its military dogs behind when withdrawing US troops from Kabul.

Animal rights group American Humane released a statement on Monday, with its CEO Dr. Robin R. Ganzert commenting on the matter, urging Congress to act to resolve the matter.

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United States Air Force Tech Sgt. John Mascolo, and his dog Ajax (L) await a helicopter pickup with Staff Sgt. Manny Garcia, and his dog Jimmy, outside Forward Operating Base Normandy in Iraq in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters December 2, 2011. (File photo: Reuters)
United States Air Force Tech Sgt. John Mascolo, and his dog Ajax (L) await a helicopter pickup with Staff Sgt. Manny Garcia, and his dog Jimmy, outside Forward Operating Base Normandy in Iraq in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters December 2, 2011. (File photo: Reuters)

“I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave US military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies,” she said.

“These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned,” she added.

The group, which works to bring retired military working dogs home and “pairs veterans with life-saving service dogs” has worked extensively “with the military for more than 100 years to rescue military animals,” the CEO stated.

However, the US military hit back, deeming the reports were “erroneous,” online news media the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

A military spokesperson disputed the allegations and told the Post that there were no military dogs left behind in Afghanistan.

Spokesperson for the US Central Command Lieutenant Colonel Karen Roxberry told the Post in an email that the army’s “priority mission was the evacuation of US citizens, SIV [Special Immigrant Visa holders] and vulnerable Afghans.”

A service dog waits for training at the Paws of War office in Nesconset, Long Island, New York on June 10, 2019. (File photo: AFP)
A service dog waits for training at the Paws of War office in Nesconset, Long Island, New York on June 10, 2019. (File photo: AFP)

“Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the US military,” said Roxberry.

“Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde mission, US forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible,” she added.

Questions remain on whether this is true or not, but American Humane CEO has suggested that the remaining dogs be “loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety.”

“Irrespective of the outcome, this gross oversight of justice must be stopped from happening again, as it did in Vietnam too. To that end, we call on Congress to take action to classify contract working dogs on the same level as military working dogs,” she said.

“Failure to do anything less, is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all,” she concluded.

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