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Tag: base

Off base: Fort Knox won’t help return dog

A Kentucky mother of seven wants to gets something more precious than gold back — her dog — but Fort Knox is standing in the way.

Kim Church, of Radcliff, wants the army base to return her family’s 2-year-old Weimaraner, Riley, who was impounded in mid-June after either wandering onto, or being taken to, the secure base.

Fort Knox’s stray animal facility sold the dog to a new owner 11 days after she was picked up by military police, according to the Press-Enterprise, in Hardin County, Kentucky.

The dog disappeared from the family’s yard. Her tags — but not her pink collar — were found in the yard.

Church said she searched all over town for Riley, called city and county pounds and put an ad on Craigslist. A caller notified her that she saw a dog that looked like Riley at the Fort Knox PX, where the post was hosting a pet adoption fair.

The post’s animal shelter is not open to the public —  like much else at Fort Knox. Instead, it adopts out animals through PetFinder.com and adoption fairs.

Church said she called the facility, but post officials cited HIPAA — the same federal law which prevents hospitals from disclosing patient information – and refused to shed any light on Riley’s whereabouts.

A spokeswoman told the newspaper that a Weimeraner was found by military police and was taken to the pound, bu twould not release any information about the new adoptive owner.

Church filed a report with Radcliff police, claiming her dog was stolen. She’s launched a Facebook page to rally support for her cause and posted an updated advertisement on Craigslist, explaining the details of Riley’s disappearance and subsequent adoption.

“The vet told me I’d have to take this to the Pentagon,” Church said. “If that’s what it takes. …”

(An update on this story can be found here.)

Faith takes her message of hope to soldiers

Faith, the two-legged dog, continues to spread inspiration — most recently last weekend when she visited McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis in Washington state.

Faith met thousands of soldiers — some headed to war, some coming back.

“She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all,” Faith’s owner, Jude Stringfellow, told the Associated Press.

“There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion.”

Faith, a Lab-chow mix, was born to a junkyard dog around Christmas of 2002. Her mother rejected her and she was rescued by Jude Stringfellow’s son, Rueben, now in the Army. The mother and son taught the dog to walk on her rear legs — using peanut butter and a lot of practice.

Since then Faith has done the talk show circuit, and Stringfellow has become a motivational speaker. She has written two books about Faith and is working on a third, “Faith Walks.”

They get more than 200 letters and e-mails a day, run a website and make dozens of appearances every year, including stops at veterans’ hospitals across the country to cheer injured soldiers.

Rueben Stringfellow left Iraq in September and is stationed in Alaska. He is scheduled to get out of the Army and head home on Jan. 1.

Tests may save dogs from Marine breed ban

Marine and Army bases that have banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other “dangerous dogs” — and with all due respect, sir, we’d suggest they review the previous post about Ella — are in some cases permitting owners of those breeds to apply for waivers allowing their pets to continue living on base.

The Marines Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina has agreed to allow animal behavior experts from the ASPCA to give temperament tests next week to more than 100 dogs. Dogs who pass get a waiver to stay on base until 2012.

The assessment includes testing the dog’s comfort level around strangers and children and how it behaves around its food and toys, according to an ASPCA press release.

Read more »

Dog helps wounded warriors in Hawaii

finnA yellow Labrador retriever named Finn is helping injured Marines in Hawaii recuperate from their war wounds.

Pressed into service about a month ago, Finn is stationed at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at the Kane’ohe base. His duty is simple, and not that different from that of any dog — to bring some joy into the lives of the people around him.

Finn is the first service dog to be placed in a barracks in Hawaii, said Susan Luehrs, executive director for Hawaii Fi-Do, a nonprofit group that obtained, trained and donated Finn to the Marines.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that he brings a sense of calm to the Wounded Warrior barracks, which was designed to aid in the recovery of war-related injuries and illnesses. 

Finn “has contributed significantly,” said Sgt. Karlo Salgado, in charge of the Wounded Warrior barracks. “He’s here more for morale. He’s very consistent with his attitude. As you can see, he’s always playful so he definitely breaks up the monotony here.”

Finn, short for Finnegan, is more of a companion dog, but he has about 80 skills, such as opening doors, that he can use to help those coping with disabilities.

“We’re coming back with a lot more injured young people and they’re saying we’d rather be walking with a dog than a cane,” Luehrs said.

The organization is working with Congress to pass legislation that would pay for training and upkeep. It typically takes two years and costs about $20,000 to train an animal, not including the price to purchase a puppy.

“We’re really proud of him,” Luehrs said. “He had all of his service dog’s skills but because of his personality and socialness, we felt this would be the perfect setting for him.”

(Photo: Honolulu Advertiser/Jeff Widener)

Semper Fido

Add the Marines to the list of military branches banning “dangerous” dog breeds from some of their bases — most recently Camp Lejuene in North Carolina.

Nearly a year after a 3-year-old boy was killed by a visiting pit bull at Camp Lejeune, the base has changed its pet policy to ban full or mixed breeds of pit bull or Rottweiler, wolf hybrids, “any dog of any breed with traits of aggression as determined by the base veterinarian,” and any dog with a record of vicious behavior, according to a base spokesman.

A Pentagon memo issued earlier this year bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and chows from living on Army bases. The Air Force also has enacted a breed-selective policy and the Navy is expected to do the same.

The change at Camp Lejeune follows the death of Julian Slack last May, according to a letter written by Camp Lejeune’s commanding officer Col. Rich Flatau.  At the time of the attack, no specific breeds of dogs were forbidden on base, though animals deemed vicious were not allowed to stay, according to the Jacksonville Daily News.

In a letter distributed to family housing residents, Flatau said the breed choices chosen for the ban were based on “a significant body of empirical evidence indicating they are apt to violent behavior, often unpredictable and have the capability to inflict severe harm or death.”

(Clearly, the Marines would never tolerate that kind of behavior.)

Camp Pendleton in California limits the number of dogs or cats residents can have, though no particular breeds of dogs are banned. Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, bans “potentially dangerous dogs such as full or mixed breeds of pit bulls (Stafford Bull Terrier, America Staffordshire Terrier and other similar breeds).”

The revised order also will apply to dogs brought aboard the base by visitors, Flatau wrote in his letter.

(Photo: Petoftheday.com)

Former “Army brat” remembers best friend

We don’t know how much heat the Pentagon is getting for its edict banning “dangerous” dog breeds from Army housing, despite many of those breeds having served the country honorably.

We do know, though, that the new Army policy, which singles out Rottweilers, chows, Dobermans and pit bulls as undeserving of life on American military bases, has led to at least one letter — a copy of which was sent to us by the writer, one-time Army brat and ohmidog! correspondent Anne Madison.

With her permission, we reprint it here:

Dear Ms. Vanslyke,

I am writing to respectfully but vehemently protest the banning of certain dogs (deemed “aggressive”) from military housing.

I have a somewhat different viewpoint. Though I am now in my fifties, I grew up as the daughter of an Army officer, an “Army Brat” if you will. I had one younger brother. Our beloved dogs followed us from one posting to the next, getting us through strange, new schools, new cties and towns, new people and teachers, and all the huge (and I will say unnatural) adjustments that Army children are forced to make.

They provided us with comfort, love, stability, and loyalty. The first dog I ever had, Cho-Cho, was half-Doberman. She was with us while we were stationed at the Ryukyus Command. I was between three and five years of age, and she was my best friend.

Our soldiers–and their families–give up so much for us! I believe that their lives are much more difficult now than the life that I experienced. At least we were at peace during most of my childhood, so we didn’t have to experience fear and worry for our father.

Is this “breed-oriented persecution” really going to accomplish anything besides tearing families apart and separating respected war veterans from their loved pets? It seems to me that the Army has many means at its disposal to to control any unwanted canine behavior without simply
going through and eliminating all dogs of certain types. If there’s a problem dog of any breed, by all means–address the issue with the adult involved.

This is just too sad and terrible a burden to lay on the shoulders of those who are doing so much for our country at such a cost. And it’s completely unnecessary!

Sincerely yours,

Anne Madison