The military dog captured by the Taliban — and shown off by his captors on a video posted on the Internet — was apparently attached to a British special forces unit.
While the Taliban identified their captive as a U.S. dog, military sources who asked not to be identified say the bomb-sniffing dog was British, and that it disappeared after a deadly firefight in Afghanistan’s Laghman Province on Dec. 23, according to the Washington Post.
Officials at the Pentagon said it is the first time they recall a military dog being taken captive.
The British Defense Ministry has not confirmed the nationality of the dog.
In the video, the dog, believed to a Belgian Malinois, stands amid a group of heavily armed men, appearing confused at times, tentatively wagging its tail at others.
“Allah gave victory to the mujahideen!” one of the fighters says in the video, adding, in apparent reference to U.S. forces, ”Down with them, down with their spies!”
The dog wears a black protective vest, which was oufitted with what the Taliban said were sophisticated electronic devices.
The video was posted on the Internet Feb. 5 via a Twitter account often used to disseminate Taliban propaganda.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the dog was captured after a firefight between coalition forces and Taliban fighters in the Alin Nigar district of Afghanistan’s Laghman province in late December.
“The mujahideen valorously put tough resistance against the troops for hours,” he said. “The dog was of high significance to the Americans.”
U.S. Special Operations troops often use the Belgian Malinois, some of which have been trained to parachute and rappel with their handlers.
A Belgian Malinois was among the members of the special forces team that found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 7th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, belgian malinois, bomb-sniffing, bombs, british, canine, captive, captured, devices, dog, dogs, explosive, hostage, military, pets, sniffing, special forces, taliban, u.s., video, war
Tasker, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was shot while on patrol in Helmand province on March 1. His bomb-sniffing springer spaniel, Theo — though not physically injured in that incident — died three hours later.
“I would like to believe he (Theo) died of a broken heart to be with Liam,” said Tasker’s mother, Jane Duffy.
This week, as the soldier’s body came home, hundreds of mourners lined the main street to pay respects to both dog and master, the Telegraph reported.
The body of Tasker, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, and the ashes of Theo had earlier been flown back in the same aircraft.
Tasker suffered fatal injuries in a firefight with the Taliban, while Theo died after returning to Camp Bastion, the main British military base. Tasker was the 358th member of the British Armed Forces to die since operations in Afghanistan began; Theo was the sixth British military dog killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
Theo, not quite two years old, had drawn praise for detecting 14 hidden bombs and weapons caches in just five months on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. His success at finding Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) led to his stay in the country being extended for a month.
Tasker was said to have a “natural empathy with dogs” and was described as a “rising star” within the dog training group. The pair were said to be “made for each other.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, bomb-sniffing, bombs, british, broken heart, dog, dogs, ied, killed, liam tasker, military, royal army, seizure, shot, soldier, spaniel, springer spaniel, theo, veterinary corps, war
Target’s owner, Sgt. Terry Young, found out his dog had been killed when he showed up at the shelter to claim her.
The dog had escaped from his backyard over the weekend.
“When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow,” Ruth Stalter, Pinal County animal-control director, said in a statement. “Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures.”
The county is investigating the accidental euthanization at its Casa Grande shelter.
In Afghanistan, Target snapped and barked at a suicide bomber, who was trying to enter a building on a military base. The bomber instead set off his bomb in a doorway. Five soldiers were injured, several of whom credited Target with helping save their lives.
“I just can’t believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog,” Young told the Arizona Republic.
When he returned to the U.S., Young brought Target with him to his home in the Phoenix area.
A county spokesman said a shelter employee has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
Young said he found the gate to his backyard open on Friday morning, the day after Veterans Day.
Heather Murphy, a spokeswoman for Pinal County, said Target was found by a nearby resident, who put her in his backyard and called the pound.
Later that night Young saw Target’s picture on a website used by Pinal County’s animal control office, and, assuming the shelter was closed for the weekend, figured she would be safe until he could pick her up Monday.
When he arrived, he filled out some forms and a staff member brought him another dog. Young then showed the employee a picture of his dog. Then he waited for an hour.
According to the Republic, Young saw one worker sobbing. And the director of the shelter told him there had been a mistake.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, accidentally euthanized, afghanistan, animal control, animal shelter, arizona, casa grande, dog, euthanized, hero, killed, lives, mistake, news, pinal county, put down, saved, soldier, soldiers, suicide bomber, target, terry young, war
Students at Woodlands High School in Conroe, Texas raised $9,000 to help purchase a land-mine sniffing dog — only to see the money snatched by a thief.
Teacher Susan Hollier said about 2,000 people from across the community attended a Woodlands High School walk and fundraising festival on Saturday.
Two student clubs — Interact and the Council on International Affairs — started working on the project in February, with hopes of raising $20,000 to pay for the purchase and training of a Belgian Malinois. The dogs are sent around the world to detect mines so communities in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam can use the land again.
Part of the money raised was also going to pay for a Woodlands High student to travel to Bosnia to see the dogs in action. The clubs’ project dog was going to visit the high school in May.
Around noon Saturday, though, a suspect grabbed a box of donated money from a student and ran, according to the Houston Chronicle. Hollier said all but $253 was stolen.
“It’s really just heartbreaking, especially when this one dog would save up to 10,000 lives in its five to seven years of service,” said Shelby Howard, 18, president of Interact. “It’s really hard to see all our hard work just taken from us in a matter of seconds. It’s hard to believe someone would go to that level.”
What are the clubs going to do about it? Start all over again, Shelby said. “We’re definitely not going to just let it go. This is a worthy cause.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, belgian malinois, clubs, conroe, council on international affairs, detect, dog, donations, interact, iraq, land-mine, mines, money, news, ohmidog!, pets, purchase, raising, sniffing, students, texas, theft, vietnam, woodlands high school
Gunner, though he hasn’t seen much of it, is — from all appearances — tired of war.
Out of the 58 bomb-sniffing dogs the Marines have in Afghanistan, only one—a yellow Lab named Gunner— is suffering from such severe canine post-traumatic stress disorder that he’s having to sit things out, remaining behind at his base camp to quiver in his kennel, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Marines call him “combat-ineffective” and “not mission-capable.” He’s refusing to go into battle and perform the war-time deeds he was trained to do, which makes him a liability, in the eyes of the Marines.
Like their human comrades, some war dogs can handle combat, and some can’t, according to the Journal piece (which includes a slideshow of Gunner in action, or, more accurately, in inaction).
Gunner graduated from bomb-dog school in Virginia, but the Marines say he was skittish even before he arrived in the combat zone in October and was posted to a front-line battalion. He reacted so nervously to gunfire that he never even got a chance to go on a real patrol.
He’s not the first dog to decline to perform his duties. Another Lab refused to associate with the Marines after seeing a serviceman shoot a feral Afghan dog. It took weeks of retraining, hours of playing with a reindeer squeaky toy and a piles of praise before Zoom was willing to go back to work.
Capt. Michael Bellin, an Army veterinarian working with the Marines, says he’s seen canine post-traumatic stress disorder cases before. “I think it’s possible, depending on what they went through.”
Gunner was sent to the main kennel at Camp Leatherneck, where bomb dogs recuperate from illness or injury. For weeks after he arrived, Gunner refused to leave the kennel compound. Even now almost any sound sends him into a panic. If a shipping container door slams somewhere nearby, Gunner hunches down and bolts for an open cage door. If an artillery round goes off in the distance, he races into the tent of kennel manager, Cpl. Chad McCoy.
The corporal doubts Gunner will ever be fit for combat; instead he’s trying to get him to get over his fears enough to make him adoptable back home.
(Photo: Wall Streee Journal, Bryan Denton)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, bomb, camp leatherneck, canine, combat ineffective, detecting, detection, dog, dogs, gunner, K-9, k9, labrador, marines, news, pets, post traumatic stress, stress, war, yellow lab
Another dog befriended by U.S. troops in Afghanistan has made it to America.
Oso was rescued as a four-month-old pup from the streets of Afghanistan five months ago by Phil Bourillion, of the 5th Stryker Brigade, then went on to befriend his entire unit.
The dog arrived at Sea-Tac Airport late Tuesday morning, where she was met by Bourillion’s wife, Lena, KOMO in Seattle reported.
“She means a lot,” Spc. David LaForge, who is with Bourillon’s unit but home this week on R&R, said of the dog. “She was a big boost of morale when we had her – she was a little puppy – we raised her from nothing.”
When the unit got orders to transfer to another base, plans to bring Oso along were nixed by the Army.
That’s when Lena Bourillion began the long process of trying to get the dog out on her own.
Members of the unit paid a driver to sneak Oso through enemy lines to Kabul. Once Oso was there, Lena, with the help of family and friends, found someone who would get Oso into Pakistan. From there, Oso was placed on a flight to New York and another to Seattle.
Bourillion is due back from Afghanistan in five months.
Oso will spend three weeks in quarantine before going to the Bourillion’s home in Puyallup.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, afghanistan, america, animals, army, befriended, dog, dogs, home, lena bourillion, oso, pets, phil bourillion, puyallup, rescued, seattle, stryker brigade, troops, u.s., unit, war
After 14 months in the Afghan desert, a missing-in-action Labrador retriever — attached to an Australian Army bomb detection unit — was found by a U.S. soldier.
Sabi was declared missing after a bloody battle with the Taliban that began after an ambush of a convoy made up of U.S., Afghan and Australian soldiers. Nine soldiers, including Sabi’s handler, were wounded.
A U.S. soldier found Sabi roaming with an Afghan man in Oruzgan Province last week, Australia’s Townsville Bulletin reported.
The U.S. soldier said it was immediately obvious that the Labrador was specially trained — and understood English. ”I took the dog and gave it some commands it understood,” he said.
Sabi appeared in good health. She was flown to Kandahar to be checked by a veterinarian before her return to Australia.
The Australian Special Operations Task Group had made repeated attempts to discover the fate of the dog and never gave up hope.
”She’s a tough little bugger, absolutely as tough as nails,” Chief Trainer Sergeant Damian Dunne said. “For a dog to be missing for so long to be found … everyone is stoked.”
Sabi, like her fellow bomb detection dogs, came from a dog pound and was trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices. She was first deployed in 2007 and was nearing the end of her second deployment when she went missing last year.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghan, afghanistan, ambush, army, australia, australian, battle, bomb, desert, detection, disappeared, dog, found, labrador, located, missing, missing in action, oruzgan, retriever, returned, sabi, soldier, taliban, u.s., war
Australian soldiers in Afghanistan bid farewell to Nova, a mixed breed dog from a shelter who was trained to detect bombs.
Nova died after a car accident during a training operation at Camp Holland on Friday, according to the Courier Mail.
The two-year-old dog was involved in several missions in Afghanistan, helping to sniff out improvised explosive devices placed by Taliban insurgents.
Medics tried to save Nova but her wounds were too severe and she was put down by the regimental medical officer. Base personnel later gathered with their chaplain to say farewell to their four-legged mate, who will be cremated.
Several other Australian Army explosive-detection dogs have been killed or injured in Afghanistan over the past two years, including Merlin and Andy, both killed in vehicle accidents, and Razz, who was killed when a bomb he found detonated.
(Photo: Nova and her handler Spr. Reuben Griggs/AAP)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acccident, afghanistan, andy, army, australia, australian, bomb, bombs, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, merlin, mixed breed, nova, razz, shelter, sniffing, vehicle, war
A World War II veteran who was held for a year in a Nazi prisoner camp has made it his mission to help supply wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs.
Irwin Stovroff, the subject of a recent Fox News report, has raised nearly $2 million dollars to help train and match up service canines with wounded combat vets.
The 85-year-old resident of Boca Raton, Fla., is also pushing lawmakers for federal funding to finance the program.
“It is a shame.” Stovroff says about the lack of an official federal program that pairs up battle-injured veterans with guide and therapy animals that can greatly improve their rehabilitation. “I wanted to do something about it.”
Stovroff, the recipient of a Distinguished Flying Cross, was shot down behind enemy German lines on his 35th bombing flight. He threw his dogs tags away before his plane crashed to hide his Jewish faith from his captors.
Stovroff says dogs can help the injured soldiers in a number of ways.
“The dog can become his eyes. He can become his legs. He can bring him anything he needs.” Stovroff said. “A dog is probably the best thing that can happen to these soldiers … They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well.”
(Photos courtesy of Intimesofwar.us)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, assistance, breed specific legislation, camp, distinguished flying cross, dogs, federal, florida, german, hero, iran, irwin stovroff, nazi, prisoner, program, service dogs, soldiers, therapy, world war II, wounded