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The Dog Who Took Down Bin Laden

Written by PETA | May 5, 2011
Beverly & Pack/cc by 2.0

Among the 80 Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad was a member of another species—a dog. The New York Times reports that a dog who was likely trained to detect explosives was strapped to a SEAL’s chest and lowered from a helicopter into the walled compound. Like the identities of the SEALs involved in the mission, details about the dog are being kept under wraps, but we can only hope that, since he or she is being described in the present tense as a “hero,” the dog survived and was evacuated safely with the rest of the team.

An estimated 600 dogs are being used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and General David Petraeus has called for the use of even more dogs, claiming that their abilities “cannot be replicated by man or machine.” In the year 2011, we would argue that technology can—and should—be used in place of animals in dangerous missions. We are not against working dogs per se (it depends on the conditions, training, and retirement plans), but we are against sending dogs into what will probably be a gun battle.

Written by Alisa Mullins

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  • Gini says:

    Where are all the PETA supporters when animals are buried alive in Asian countries due to Hoof & Mouth disease??? Please stand up and be heard! Military dogs are well cared for, animals struggling to breath as pounds of dirt is spread over them, with dirt in their eyes that they cannot wipe out as they die a slow torturous death need you help FAR FAR more!

  • maria ;( says:

    TO kc, you are very ignorant!!!!!

  • Dana says:

    If I see one more person quote the Bible saying it’s perfectly cool to use animals however we see fit because we’re “superior beings”, I’m going to scream. Seriously people, the Bible is not a history book nor does it state ANY factual information. Use your own brains, and your own ethics. Don’t look to an ancient text to steer you in the right direction.

  • Eden says:

    With all due respect Jaqueline, you have no idea what you are talking about. Military dogs go home to a warm bed every night – even after they are retired. We do not perform vivisections on our elderly dogs, and saying ‘most soliders do not like dogs’ is just plain ignorant. When you are over-seas and need someone that you can unwind in front of, cry, and not be judged – guess who that is? The same dog that is by your side on patrol. And actually, it is written in the Bible that we are ‘superior’ to animals; Genesis 1:26-28.

  • animallib says:

    animals should not be used for human purposes…period! and to you kc, animals DO have souls; you’re just a typical christian…

  • Sarah says:

    Kathy.. what do dogs do alot of there time they lay down heck my two girls sleep more then my 4 cats! exspcially now that the suns out. so them laying there sleeping or watching the crowd go by is not hurting them. As for you saying there beat as puppies i do not know were you get that since the teens get them right after there weined..and there untrained they have to start from scratch. plus a beat dog is not a working dog.. my Reba who is my husband cattle dog was beat before we got her. when we aquired her she whimpered, didnt trust any human contact and yipped and yelped at night in her sleep. So when we took her out on cows she was scared to death to work becuse she associated herding with being beat. but we worked with her and she got over her fear and is now a great working dog again! So a beat seeing eye dog would be useless.

  • sergeant ron says:

    As a k-9 officer, let me tell you that there are several officers I know, and I’m one of them, who would never send our dogs into a situation where they could be shot any more than we’d send one of our human counterparts. The watchword is caution. But that isn’t true of everyone and sometimes I’ve seen dogs used because it was easy and the dog’s life wasn’t as valued even though there were options. A dog is a partner, not a substitute for other tactics, armaments, and so on. PETA is right. The military and law enforcment can be a great job for a dog, but taking a dog into a gunfight shouldn’t ever be accepted when we have options, and often we do.

  • Natreece says:

    I so believe this article. But what the Genral said I don’t go along with. Because why would you put more dogs in the forces? Bad enough many people all ready don’t have jobs because of machinery. So, why would you put dogs in? That would just make people want to kill more dogs. So, they can take the place and job of a dog.

  • Jackie says:

    I was concerned as well when I heard about dogs being used in war conditions. We do have the technology to find a better solution. Notyou, welcome to PETA. Seems you didn’t understand what PETA stands for, People for the Ethical Treatment of ANIMALS. Humans have more than enough advocates for them, Animals need us to speak up for them. If that offends you, perhaps you shouldn’t visit here.

  • kc says:

    Hmm…so you’d brather not a dog go into a gun battle…but it’s alright for a person to? Animals don’t have souls…no matter what you do for them they will never care.

  • brandao jacqueline says:

    no dogs are not treated like royalty in the army when they are too old they end up simply to vivisection because they belong to the army and can do whatever she wants. Sometimes a dog adopts the latter happened to retirement, but not dreaming is very rare. Moreover, I do not agree that the dogs are sent into dangerous positions, so why should he risk his life when most soldiers do not like dogs. The soldiers are formatted for men to war not the dogs! Cease then to sanctify human life, we are not superior to animals in the bible it is written elsewhere

  • kathy says:

    Sarah, the dogs trained to be seeing eye dogs are beaten as very young puppies as part of the training process. It has nothing to do with whether teens can pass a screening process. I’m sure they don’t recruit teens for that part of the training. The puppies have already been beaten before they are given to the teens for further training. It’s an issue I’ve wanted to see an animal rights group look into for a while. Also, I have seen seeing eye dogs lay on the ground for hours as they sit next to a blind person. That’s the norm when they accompany them in public.

  • Rita says:

    When I hear stories like the one about that dog who was traumatized by the war, I know that “dogs love to work and willingly give up their lives for us” isn’t true. Take for instance, this dog here I feel so sorry for her. A human consents to being a soldier or a police officer. A dog can’t consent. They shouldn’t be forced into a dangerous situation.

  • Chaina says:

    I don’t believe that dogs that help the blind are abused in any way at all. They get wonderful homes to live in for helping the blind person. Sending dogs into combat–Im not sure about this one. After all it’s not their choice.

  • WokenUp says:

    Why is PETA implying that it’s okay to use an animal to commit a criminal act? I don’t think bin Laden had anything to do with 911. He was just the patsy. You folks need to realize how much this government is lying to you.

  • Mia says:

    I agree with Lisa. I have more faith in animals than humans now a days especially with all the violence all over the world. Dutchluv, I disagree with you. Animals are not willing they are force by humans to do what is convenient for humans. Humans have free will animals don’t, they are at the mercy of their human handlers.

  • notyou says:

    You don’t think a dog should be used in a gun battle? You are an idiot, you rather a soldier die or be harmed because of the risk to a dog…..What is wrong with you?????

  • Sarah says:

    kathy you need to Actually LEARN before you Spout.. Alot of seeing eye dogs are trained by Teens In 4H now in ORDER to become a 4H dog seeing eye trainer you must have stright As,good community service record the ability to Pay for any care the dog may need in YOUR care. So your saying thes teens who go through a rigorus screening process do it JUST to beat the dogs? hum intresting.. And the sitting for hours you do realize that the dogs are free roaming at home? I had a blind friend his dog didnt sit on top of him 24/7 he came when called and sat down to get his harness on. Spouting you idiocy does not help anything

  • LISA says:

    Wow, this is a tough one. I’m for it and against it. Dog is man’s best friend and will protect that man to their death … that shows you how loyal they are, makes me wonder about humans anymore. But any ways, I don’t like the idea of a dog going into battle; getting shot at or blown up but if they’re cared for then they deserve to be deemed a hero just by being there. Heck if you think about it those dogs most likely would end up in the shelter, abused and gosh only knows what else would be done to them. Again, if they’re treated with respect and they’re working with us, risking their lives as our many, many human heros do for US and our freedom then they should be there right by theirs sides … protecting each other. To tell you the truth I have more faith in animals than I do in humans , I just don’t trust humans anymore, they’ve become so evil. WHOOOO RAHHHHH!! GO-GO ANIMALS!!! PROTECT & RESPECT!!!

  • karen s says:

    I’m not sure about SEALs, but I’m a Master-At-Arms in the Navy & the dogs we use are well taken care of. They eat the best organic food & they get to go home to a warm bed every night. I’m not a dog handler, but the dogs I’ve seen are very happy and well taken care of. Not anyone can become a dog handler (in the Navy). The most important thing someone must have in order to train for this job is the love of dogs of course!!

  • lisa says:

    Lets just hope the US army treat thier dogs right compared to a year or go when they were filmed throwing puppies over a cliff in afgan

  • lisa says:

    I think this is a difficult subject for people to eirther agree or disagree as we the general public do not know how these dogs are treated, allthough i disagree with the US army putting an animal is a dangerous situation as he/she was you have to think well what about police dogs and also dogs that work in afgan and iraq to sniff bombs out, i myself from the UK the UK army have sniffer dogs and allthough they work in dangerous situations are looked after like a family member and they love thier dogs so im not sure what i think about this, what i do know is lowering a dog into a potentional gunbattle is not right

  • Dutchluv says:

    These dogs are held in the highest regard in the military. Yes, they may be there to possibly sacrifice their life for the sake of another human soldier- but they do it willingly and with the best possible training. The soldiers don’t want to lose them any more than their fellow soldiers. Unfortunately, its a need we have in order to protect our country. If PETA protests against this practice- they are fools.

  • Penny UK says:

    I am against taking any animals into situations that could be harmful to them, there are plenty of devices that can safely be used nowadays. Very, very wrong of the USA seal chiefs to use dogs, very wrong!

  • @Elektra1987 says:

    What a great picture of a beautiful belgian malinois and it’s handler. Being a working dog handler myself, I can really appreciate the loyalty, effort and teamwork of a dog team. I would be lost without my boys on shift, I wouldn’t work without them. And no – machines and technology will never replace the work that these dogs do, a machine doesn’t have instincts, nor can it create a bond with you like a dog can, not to mention the agility, stamina, intelligence and companionship that these animals provide to their handlers. A dog will not work for it’s master if it doesn’t want to, these dogs enjoy their work and I know from personal experience that they wouldn’t be happy unless they were working.

  • Kriss says:

    Never ends….. “News flash” it might be 2011 but we cannot “replicate” dogs’ abilities, we are barley on the edge of learning how to create artificial intelligence and real movement. But if you think it’s a piece of cake to recreate nature in the form of a machine maybe YOU should try it, after all you have the funding to do so. (Really don’t think “with our economy” that the government wants put millions into “replicating dogs’”) it’s a waste of money and could put us farther into debt. Stop your complaining if you’re not “really” going to do anything about it but take in your “sympathy donations”.

  • lildoo says:

    im sorry for this rudeness but dogs are mans best friends and they will protect the owner until they are dead. Now these dogs that go over seas are treated just like a human if not even better than a human.. now ive agreed with some of the things you guys post but come on these dogs are there to fight just as the humans are. Its not like they are just sending the dogs into battle more ppl die everyday now with those dogs being there they can prevent most deaths that will happen. The dogs can hear alot better than most humans can and they can detect when some bad guy is close. They a valuable weapon for the united states. you choose have you family member sent over seas with a gun getting shot bc they didnt know the guy was behind them or be saved by the dog who knew the guy was there so he warned them…..think about it…..dont judge before you review your facts. Im sorry again for being so violent against you guys in this post but i have my whole family in the military and i dont wanna see them die bc you guys protested to get those dogs out of the army…and if the dogs didnt want to be there they wouldnt even try to help out they would be lazy and not doing anything

  • ivan.valles says:

    en realidad estoy en total desacuerdo con este tipo de acciones, las guerras son del hombre y el las creo, lo animales no entran en los pecados ni errores de los seres humanos que promocionan este tipo de actos en contra de ellos mismos.

  • kathy says:

    I’m against working dogs. It’s exploitation. I especially hate it when police officers use dogs against criminals as if they were a weapon. Sidenote: Dogs that work for blind people are beat as part of the training. Obviously it’s such an unnatural life for a dog that there’s no other way to train them for that just like beating an elephant to do tricks in a circus. I wish there would be a campaign to show what abuse dogs who lead the blind go through. It’s also not right that they must sit still for hours while working.

  • MA Moore says:

    This is one of my most favorite pictures. Our Loyal and Faithful four legged friends, can sniff out culprits better than any human can on any day. Note: if a dog is killed in the line of duty, I belive it carries the same penalty as killing an Officer. Love to Ingrid and friends at PETA!

  • Seth says:

    “We are not against working dogs” Really?? So please explain again your position against the use of dogs to assist the blind, or police dogs used to track down lost children in heavily wooded areas…