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IG report: US sent bomb-sniffing dogs to Jordan, then they died from poor care


U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL

A malnourished Jordanian bomb-sniffing dog named Mencey is seen in an April 2018 photo taken when a team of veterinary workers traveled from the U.S. to prevent an outbreak of insect-borne illness among U.S.-trained working dogs the State Department provided to Jordan. The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois had Leishmaniasis from sand flies and was euthanized when his kidneys failed.

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 13, 2019

The U.S. government continued to provide dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs to the Kingdom of Jordan, even as the animals were dying of serious health problems and others were so poorly treated that they had “lost the will to work,” a government evaluation found.

Since 2008, at least 12 U.S.-trained explosive detection canines provided to the kingdom under an antiterrorism program died from medical problems. Others were overworked, unhealthy and forced to live in kennels with “barely existent” sanitation, including some where a deadly virus was rampant, officials said.

The “dire straits” of Jordan’s program were revealed in an evaluation of the State Department’s program by the agency’s inspector general’s office. Released this week, the report calls for the department to stop sending dogs to Jordan until a plan is in place to ensure the animals’ health and welfare.

Infrequent and inconsistent health and welfare checks on the dogs were among a range of problems plaguing the program, which has supplied over 100 dogs to six foreign countries since 2016, the report said. Other issues include a lack of policies or standards and a tendency to provide the dogs to foreign governments without agreements on how they will be used, cared for and eventually retired from service.

For more than 20 years, the State Department has provided bomb-sniffing dogs to foreign countries. But the program came under scrutiny in May 2018, nearly a year after a complaint left on an IG hotline alleged a lack of oversight, insufficient health care for the animals and poor working conditions.

The program in Jordan is by far the largest recipient of U.S.-trained dogs, but the department could not provide detailed information about programs in nine other countries which had a total of between 75 and 100 active dogs as of last September, the report said.



U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL

Athena, a U.S.-trained bomb-sniffing dog provided to Jordan, is pictured in a photo from April 2018 when a State Department contracted veterinary team found the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois severely emaciated.

The exact numbers of dogs active in those other countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Oman and Thailand — were unclear because officials provided “insufficient and contradictory documentation,” the IG said. Dogs were also provided to the Dominican Republic and Afghanistan, but officials provided the IG no data on those animals and said the program “does not maintain documents related to the welfare of dogs in Afghanistan.”

In Jordan, the dogs were “required to search large numbers of vehicles without proper shelter, sanitation, and care,” officials found in a site visit to assess the country’s program in spring 2016. “The canines observed were well beyond their working years, and in need of medical care. [An official] gave several instances of canines dying from heat exhaustion within the past year.”

Heat injuries are not accidents, a veterinarian told the IG; they’re the result of negligence and improper care.

Still, the U.S. sent 20 dogs to Jordan that year, part of a total of at least 66 sent since the site visit. It later sent a pair of mentors to assist the Jordanian program in early 2017 at a cost of $500,000 per year.

But dogs have continued to suffer severe health problems that were indicative of substandard care, and little progress has been made in Jordan’s ability to care for them, the IG found.

Two of the dogs sent since early 2016 later died of health problems linked with poor working or living conditions and a third was returned to the U.S. to recover after being found severely underfed and living in a kennel covered in dirt and feces.

Jordanian authorities may be unable or unwilling provide adequate care without U.S. intervention, the IG said.

In 2018, after persistent problems, the U.S. program paid $540,000 for a veterinarian and veterinary technician to work with the Jordanians for one year.

Officials have been working to address other issues raised by the IG, including plans to send traveling veterinary teams to assess the health and training of dogs provided to foreign partner countries, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Michael Evanoff and Amb. Nathan Sales, coordinator for counterterrorism, said in a joint written response to the IG’s findings.

The program has also taken steps to address health and welfare concerns in Jordan, the senior officials said, but declined to stop providing the dogs to Jordan. That was the only one of five IG recommendations in the report that the program resisted, citing national security and counterterrorism concerns and a 2017 mandate to prevent explosives from reaching the U.S. homeland.

Those concerns were not reason enough to continue supplying dogs without first addressing serious health and welfare concerns, the IG said.

“Canines lose their effectiveness when their quality of life is poor,” it said in response to concerns expressed by Evanoff and Sales.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-trained-bomb-sniffing-dogs-183838688.html

Here's the Report by the Office of the Inspector General about these dogs:

http://www.stateoig.gov/system/files/esp-19-06.pdf
 

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These are dogs donated by the U.S. To other countries to aid in anti terrorism efforts. The problems started when CVC, a State Department Facility, received the contract instead of the ATF. They dropped the ball on maintaining oversight of the dogs once they were shipped overseas and were in the care of the host countries.

I ran across a similar situation in Afghanistan. 3 Mals basically living tied up outside their kennels. Their "handlers" were lazy ANP officers that just fed and watered them. The "handlers" kicked the dogs out of the air conditioned portable kennels and used them to hang out in the air conditioning while "on duty."

I met one of the dogs when Fama had a find at a border crossing. The ANP Chief asked if they could bring their dog down and see if it responded. I watched the team work. The dog walked right by the explosives. I dropped a 1/4 pound of C4 in front of the dog and it checked it out and walked by.

I talked to the Chief and he said they had 3 dogs total, but they were worthless. Germany had donated the dogs to the ANP 2 years earlier but didn't provide any training for the handlers. I set up a meeting at my FOB with the 3 dogs, their handlers, the Chief and the local ANA Captain. I had them keep their dogs in the vehicles and set up a demo with Fama doing box drills.

I then asked the ANP handlers to replicate the drill and they were obviously untrained. It turns out they offered the job of dog handler up by seniority and they just wanted an easy job. They basically had no responsibilities outside feeding these dogs.

Long story short, I brought the dogs to stay with me and trained them. We went through 9 handlers until we found 3 that actually liked dogs and wanted the job. They stayed with me for a month, training every day that I was available.

Some generous folks back home donated equipment for the teams including harnesses, leashes, muzzles, crates, Kongs, bowls, collars... It was really cool to outfit these guys. They were so proud of their dogs looking like our dogs do. They had 9 finds before I left country.

Back to the OP. It's terribly unfortunate that CVC dropped the ball maintaining oversight of these dogs. The fact is that the big money involved in working dogs sometimes draws less than scrupulous individuals into the business. The TSA had done a decent job of getting properly trained working teams into the field and maintaining oversight and guidance over the years. I'm not sure what drove the decision to change to a private contractor, but my guess would be the cost of the program.

I hope they get things straightened out and some heads roll accordingly.
 

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I knew a few from people from Jordan, Muslims, I worked with them, nice guys. But Muslims in general see dogs as dirty animals and don't, well have laws against them. In Sharia controlled areas of London, you can't walk them. Putting highly trained working dogs in the hands of people who culturally would see it as a breech of etiquette to refuse, but who culturally do not like dogs, well, that is insane. Giving them weapons and technology to fight terrorism, I can see that, but not live critters. I mean, would you send horses to France? Or dogs to Korea? Sometimes it so frustrating.
 

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I definitely see your point selzer!

There are a surprising number, to me anyways, of people in Iraq and Afghanistan that have pet dogs, considering their cultural proclivities.

It took a lot of effort to find handlers that would actually interact with the dogs in an enthusiastic manner and who would pet them. After failing a couple times and seeing the revulsion on the faces of the proposed handlers, I had a meeting with the Chief and explained what it takes to be a good handler. He let me talk to his men at several different stations, with my dog, and find officers that didn't have an aversion to dogs.
 

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I knew a few from people from Jordan, Muslims, I worked with them, nice guys. But Muslims in general see dogs as dirty animals and don't, well have laws against them. In Sharia controlled areas of London, you can't walk them. Putting highly trained working dogs in the hands of people who culturally would see it as a breech of etiquette to refuse, but who culturally do not like dogs, well, that is insane. Giving them weapons and technology to fight terrorism, I can see that, but not live critters. I mean, would you send horses to France? Or dogs to Korea? Sometimes it so frustrating.
That's a bit racist, and fairly uninformed. Since I was in part raised in a Muslim household, I beg to differ. I can also name by name several that have dogs. I MAY agree that most Muslims do not keep dogs as pets.
I also know several Koreans that have dogs and I competed any number of times against members of the France's equestrian team.
 

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Let's stop with the racism related comments. This is an official warning. No further race or religious comments please or this thread will be locked.

Thanks,

David
Forum Moderator
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Putting highly trained working dogs in the hands of people who culturally would see it as a breech of etiquette to refuse, but who culturally do not like dogs, well, that is insane.
Yup, it is, and it's all too often a nightmare for the dogs. I agree that our dogs should not be sent to these countries.

A recognition of the fact that different societies have different cultural norms about dogs is not racist.

As in any society, though, not everyone follows the cultural norms. In 2017, a Sunni Muslim Iranian soldier lost his leg because he rescued a dog trapped in a minefield, knowing full well the danger he faced in rescuing the dog. And he says he would do it again. It's especially interesting that many Iranians consider him a hero for doing this. Story here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4095190/Iranian-teen-soldier-hailed-national-hero-blown-landmine-risking-life-save-stray-DOG-trapped-barbed-wire.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-soldier-mohammed-bakhtar-lose-leg-minefield-saves-dog-hero-viral-social-media-a7512756.html

I wish this guy would immigrate to America.
 

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This is a shame and those pictures are terrible! I see no problem in being upset that this has happened and wanting it to stop; however, there's not enough information in those articles as to WHY it's happening. Who was in charge of these animals and why didn't they take care of them? Who dropped the ball and allowed this cruelty and financial waste (a bomb dog costs $25K or so, doesn't it?) to occur? Obviously there is a missing link here, but it's irresponsible to assign blame without proof of who failed these animals, especially by simply relying on stereotypes.

A quick Google search will show that plenty of American K-9s are also tragically abused, abandoned, and ill-treated.
 

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This is a shame and those pictures are terrible! I see no problem in being upset that this has happened and wanting it to stop; however, there's not enough information in those articles as to WHY it's happening. Who was in charge of these animals and why didn't they take care of them? Who dropped the ball and allowed this cruelty and financial waste (a bomb dog costs $25K or so, doesn't it?) to occur? Obviously there is a missing link here, but it's irresponsible to assign blame without proof of who failed these animals, especially by simply relying on stereotypes.

A quick Google search will show that plenty of American K-9s are also tragically abused, abandoned, and ill-treated.
The contract for the program was picked up by CVC. I believe this is their web page, but do not know for sure.

Quote from https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/09/watchdog-state-department-needs-stop-letting-antiterrorism-dogs-die-jordan/159785/

2016, the department established its own training program known as the Canine Validation Center. State contracted with an outside firm to provide support personnel and resources to operate and manage the program, and State assumed responsibility for conducting health and welfare checks on the dogs previously provided by ATF

It is the Canine Validation Center in Winchester Virginia. This is a State Department facility, not a private contractor as I had originally thought.
 

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This is a shame and those pictures are terrible! I see no problem in being upset that this has happened and wanting it to stop; however, there's not enough information in those articles as to WHY it's happening. Who was in charge of these animals and why didn't they take care of them? Who dropped the ball and allowed this cruelty and financial waste (a bomb dog costs $25K or so, doesn't it?) to occur? Obviously there is a missing link here, but it's irresponsible to assign blame without proof of who failed these animals, especially by simply relying on stereotypes.

A quick Google search will show that plenty of American K-9s are also tragically abused, abandoned, and ill-treated.
Thank you.
@ David Winners. No one wants to see animals abused or mistreated but to generalize and slam an entire culture or country or belief system is highly offensive to someone who was brought up within that belief system.
I love my family and we all have dogs that are much adored family members.

I absolutely agree with the fact that the people responsible for this need to be held accountable and it needs to stop happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
More info here, including this:

"Dogs at the Jordanian Police Headquarters were overwhelmingly past their working years, CVC staff found during an April 2016 visit:

Several canines were observed to have hip dysplasia and obvious arthritis, and have lost the will to work. The majority of the K9 Teams observed were well beyond their working years. They have a minimum of twenty (20) canines that need to be retired and replaced immediately."

http://www.govexec.com/management/2019/09/watchdog-state-department-needs-stop-letting-antiterrorism-dogs-die-jordan/159785/

What to do? Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent an excellent September 12 letter about this to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. You can see the letter and more info here:

http://www.finance.senate.gov/chairmans-news/grassley-to-state-protect-us-antiterrorism-service-dogs-from-abuse-overseas

So now would be a good time to send an irate email about this to your representatives with a link to Grassley's letter. You can also write to Pompeo at:

The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20520

A quick Google search will show that plenty of American K-9s are also tragically abused, abandoned, and ill-treated.
Sad but true.
 

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Thank you.
@ David Winners. No one wants to see animals abused or mistreated but to generalize and slam an entire culture or country or belief system is highly offensive to someone who was brought up within that belief system.
I love my family and we all have dogs that are much adored family members.

I absolutely agree with the fact that the people responsible for this need to be held accountable and it needs to stop happening.
You are welcome. I think it is hard for us (including me) to not lump groups of people together. Stereotyping is actually human nature that takes work to avoid. Sorry if you were offended.

I agree that the people responsible for this should be held accountable. I've been working on this when I have time this morning. I have some emails out to people that should know something about what is going on internally. I'm not sure they will be able to say anything about it, but I will post on this thread if I gater any information besides what is in the reports and news pieces already linked here.
 

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When it says we "supply" these dogs, are we making them pay for the dogs? At the risk of stereotyping folks, people will often take care of what they value, and if the dogs are valued at 25K or 50K, then maybe they will be fed properly, worked properly, kept in sanitary conditions, and provided with veterinary care.

Of course one can dig up some rich American that spend a small fortune on a dog that they then abused, neglected or dropped at a shelter to prove that you cannot use a stereotype.
 

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The dogs are provided as part of the Antiterrorism Assistance Program which is funded by the U.S.
 
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