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.
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.
Read full story at http://1.usa.gov/GYOGJZ