Army breed bans come under fire
A Pentagon memorandum issued earlier this year that bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and chows from living on Army bases has come under fire as being cold, backwards, misguided and an insult to soldiers who have served their country.
The Pentagon memo, dated Jan. 5, 2009, specifies that those breeds will no longer be allowed in Army housing — but it exempts those already housed. Any member of the military who switched bases, however, would be subject to its terms. The Air Force also has enacted a breed-selective policy and the Navy is expected to do the same.
Best Friends Animal Society in Utah said yesterday it is calling on the U.S. military to reverse the ban, which the organization says is “tearing apart families and their dogs at bases across the country.”
Best Friends attorney Ledy VanKavage said the memo is a “knee-jerk reaction” that “targets the wrong end of the leash. Our armed forces should target reckless owners, not a particular breed of dog.”
The memorandum states families “may not board in privatized housing” any dog of a breed — or a mix of breeds –that is deemed aggressive or potentially aggressive. The memorandum defines “aggressive or potentially aggressive breeds of dogs, “as pit bulls (American Staffordshire bull terriers or English Staffordshire bull terriers), Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, chows, and wolf hybrids.”
”Behind that cold language are stories of our heroes and their families being separated from their dogs,” VanKavage said.
Lynn Lynde, a volunteer with Pit Bull Rescue Central, is married to a decorated war veteran who is currently serving in the U.S. Army. They are the proud owners of three American pit bull terriers.
Lynde said soldiers are contacting her daily, appalled that they cannot bring along their best friend. She said she knows of soldiers who are leaving the military because of the ruling. “They are completely mortified that their country wants to repay them for their sacrifices by killing their dogs,” Lynde said.
“President Obama should rescind the January 5, 2009 memorandum to support all members of our military families-two legged and four legged and to honor the memory of Stubby, an American Pit Bull Terrier who received the Silver Star and Purple Heart,” VanKavage said. Stubby (pictured above) was the most decorated dog of World War I, and was known as the “Brave Solider Dog of The 102nd Infantry.”
His body now resides at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. (at least until it issues a memo).
Best Friends says citizens against the Army’s ban should write a letter to the president, members of the House Armed Services Committee, and Army officials.
To contact members of the Armed Services Committee, click here.
To contact the Army, e-mail Ms. Joyce VanSlyke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air force, american staffordshire bull terrier, army, breed ban, chows, dobermans, dogs, english staffordshire bull terrier, familiies, housing, memo, memorandum, military, military bases, navy, pentagon, pets, pit bulls, policy, rottweilers, smithsonian, soldiers, stubby, world war 1