Saturday, March 31, 2012

Military Wants Harsher Consequences for Pet Abandonment

Via Stars and Stripes - The Defense Department is seeking greater authority from the president to prosecute service members who abandon their pets - a perennial problem within the transient military community.

The Pentagon wants to broaden its current animal cruelty policy to include abandonment and to cover personal pets, not just “public animals” owned by the military, said Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale.

Troops already can be charged with “dereliction of duty” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline” for abandoning or physically harming their family pets, Breasseale said. But specifying the bad behavior in the Manual for Courts-Martial - the rulebook for prosecutions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice - would strengthen those cases and increase the chance of prosecution.

Animal rights advocates have been urging the military to take action for years. But some fear the problem may get worse since a military-contracted airline implemented a breed ban in March.

Tiffany Jackson of the Okinawan American Rescue Society said she has personally rescued about 20 pit bulls in the past three years that were abandoned on the island. Now because of this policy change, she fears there will be more.

All pets treated at military veterinary facilities are required to be implanted with microchips that include owner information, which are used to track down negligent pet owners. The Defense Department, however, does not track statistics related to animal abandonment and abuse, according to Breasseale.

President Barack Obama is expected to rule on the Pentagon’s request this spring. Military justice experts say the president likely will sign off on the proposal, as is typically the case for proposed changes to the courts-martial manual.

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  1. The same thing happens in Canada and it simply disgusts the peeps! And do you know what? The Canadian military will pay for people to take their pets when they move. They pay all expenses. And yet, every year around posting time, so many kitties are left behind. It just isn't right. The American government is on the right track by punishing those who can be so cruel.

  2. That's really great that they're pursuing this!