Animal welfare advocates fear several dogs might be tortured or killed for helping U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
American Humane is deeply concerned about the high number of military contract dogs not evacuated from Kabul. The charity organization believes Taliban fighters will severely punish the animals for their role in the Afghan conflict.
“I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies,” President and CEO Robin Ganzert said in a statement.
Ganzert suggested the animals should not be at the mercy of a militant group with little regard for any life form.
“These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs,” he said. “[They] deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned.”
The American government is pulling out of #Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies. We stand ready to bring them home! Read our CEO @RobinGanzert's full statement: https://t.co/IKhBkm4B7a pic.twitter.com/ItFlthDTAi— American Humane (@AmericanHumane) August 30, 2021
American Humane claimed it has “worked hand-in-hand” to bring home retired military animals and working dogs for more than a century. It wants to match veterans with the life-saving service pooches in question.
“We call on Congress to take action to classify contract working dogs on the same level as military working dogs,” Ganzert said. “Failure to do anything less is a failure of humanity, and a condemnation of us all.”
However, the Biden administration and U.S. military completely rejected these concerns. They described the animal cruelty fears as “erroneous.”
A military representative claimed no “military working dogs” were left behind according to the New York Post.
“[The] primary objective was the evacuation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigrant Visa [holders,] and vulnerable Afghans,” U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Karen Roxberry said according to the paper. “The animals in the photos circulating on the internet were under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Hospital–not dogs under the care of the U.S. military.”
Roxberry, who is also a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, claimed every effort was made to help secure the animals’s safety.
“Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde mission, U.S. forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible,” she said.