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Homeland Security to Add to Homeless Dog Crisis

Written by PETA | July 21, 2010

After hearing reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to add 3,000 more dogs to those already sniffing out “bombs, drugs and smuggled cash,” PETA fired off an urgent letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, asking that the dogs be adopted from shelters and breed-rescue groups, rather than bought from breeders.



If DHS rescued dogs from animal shelters, not only would it help curb the animal overpopulation crisis, it could also give dogs an opportunity for an exciting and fulfilling life. When dogs work with someone they like, they have a far better life than if they live in a crate and get a brief walk twice a day, for example. Some police officers hold retirement parties for their dogs, while others treat them like equipment. That’s why we are also asking DHS to ensure that the dogs who are added to its forces are allowed to live in the homes of their trainers, trained with positive reinforcement, and retired properly if they fail the grade, get injured, or grow old. Please weigh in by contacting DHS and join us in asking Napolitano to require these animals to be treated like loyal companions—not like tools from a storage shed.

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • boohoo says:

    This looks like PR smoke and mirrors to me. Also, there is an address for unsolicited proposal. The government doesn’t take unsoliced proposals, you have to register your business and then get scored as you submit proposals for projects one at a time. I am talking about the consultant putting together their “statement of qualifications package” and sending it off to the government procurement officers to be evaluated when an advertisment is posted. I have never seen a Federal advertisment that allows for dogs to come from shelters. They must have their pedigree paperwork and a host of other things as stated in the ad. Now maybe I am reading the various press releases wrong and they are wanting shelters and rescues to give the dogs away for free to government facilities like those at Lackland AFB etc. Also I am not talking about local governments, I know they will take rescues. I have seen fire departments do it all the time. I am specifically talking about the Federal government saying it will accept rescue dogs, but not having any “requests for proposal” that will allow a contractor to supply a “rescue dog”.

    I just double checked some of thier recent canine solicitation and DHS wants pedigrees,registration certificates, scorebooks and breedsurveys included in submitted proposals. If its listed in the RFP be assured they will be giving points to those contractors that provide such information. A consultant with rescues can’t provide this info and thus will get less points, reducing their chances of being selected for the contract. I suppose an established and experienced government contractor may be able to supply the occational “rescue” dog with a batch of other dogs, likely only after they have won the contract.

    I also saw a listing for the ATF that asked for purebread labradors only. I don’t know how a rescue dogs would have such pedigree info, unless the rescuing agency got lucky and the last owner gave it to them at the time of surrender. I am not talking about dog ability etc. I am talking about the Department of Homeland Security outright lying to the public saying that they will accept rescues or shelter dogs, when there are no such provisions in thier public solicitations.

    To all all those saying:

    “This is Wonderful,What an excellent idea etc”

    Realized that this is not real, only a miniscule amount of shelter dogs across the ENTIRE country would meet the breed, age and temperament requirements.  Second, how does the dog get delivered to the “government agency” that has put out an RFP for untrained canines?  If you have not put together a proposal for the Federal Government in your career I suggest that you refrain from commenting on how “great” this is because its not REAL.  The Federal government does not procure dogs in this manner and they never will.  Local agencies are different and as others have said only the handlers/trainers of the agencies procuring the dogs can determine if a dog as a shot at passing the entry requirements.  To put my comments into perscpective you all need to realize that the federal government has not taken donated dogs on a mass scale since World War II.

  • Stacey says:

    If you go into any shelter you will see that this economy has relegated thousands of pure bred dogs into shelters. My Aunt just adopted a gorgeous German Shepard whose owner had lost his job. Also dogs from breeders in most unregulated States are overbred and missing a few IQ points. The smartest dogs I have ever had have been rescue dogs.

  • Chris says:

    DestinySam does bring up a point tho why the sudden support of this? It dosen’t make sense.

  • Sam says:

    Mods I again ask that this be posted up so Destiny if she so chooses can read and respond. Destiny again I’ll say that I’m surprised that PETA is even endorsing this given how it treats animals. How am I a “fool” for saying this simple fact? But if you must Destiny please tell me why you and others are supporting this use of dogs when… These dogs have been shot and killed by robbers and the like which should be seen as cruel to all of you. But here you are touting the use of shelter animals for this service. That doesn’t make sense honestly. Destiny can you honestly tell me why using shelter dogs this way something that puts them in the line of fire all the time is somehow humane? I’m not a fool I’m someone who is quite logical in their statements and has seen these dogs in action. If you can say the same thing then please by all means make comments such as you have.

  • Sam says:

    You all are missing the point not all dogs are trainable including breeded dogs. However you don’t know the background of a shelter dog over one that’s bred and has no ingrained notions. I have not “backpedaled” in case people have forgotten I’ve said that shelter dogs are quite loving and should be adopted as pets. I just wouldn’t want to risk having said animal decide to bail because of some hidden instinct that no one noticed in training because it was say a rescue. BTW I’m rather surprised that PETA is even endorsing this. These dogs have been shot and killed by robbers and the like which should be seen as cruel to all of you. But here you are touting the use of shelter animals for this service. That doesn’t make sense honestly.

  • Maggie says:

    I think the thing that wasn’t considered here is that there are purebred dogs in shelters. The reason is a lot of people buy a cute puppy and then they grow and need to be trained. Many do not know how to do this and give up and they become a shelter dog and homeless. Or visit a pet store where they are selling pureberds not all of them get sold so where do they end up. I realize that many people make a living breeding animals but the problem is there is so many dogs in shelters that should be in good homes and if this is the way to get them out then they should be given a chance. Not all dogs who are bred for this purpose make the grade either.

  • Emma says:

    Sam Your first post is just ridiculous and now you are back peddling. My shelter dog PitLab mix is the smartest most athletic and loyal dog Ive ever had. Even more than the German Sheppard we had when I was younger. “Needle in a haystack”???? Please!!!

  • Kerry says:

    I’m 100 for training shelter dogs for this work! Adopted dogs or puppies should also be the first choice for seeing eye guide dog organizations in this country. I can’t wait for the day when this country realizes that GSD labrador retrievers aren’t the only choices for these jobs…both breeds are genetically prone too many many health issues. It makes me physically sick to hear stories about law enforcement importing German Shepherd Dogs from Germany. Go to your local shelter we’ll find hundreds of better choices! There are plenty of great pure bred dogs and puppies in US shelters that can be trained to do these jobs deserve a good life. In my opinion mixed breed dogs are a healthier smarter choice.

  • Karen says:

    Sam You paint with way too broad a brush. Many dogs can do the work of a security dog. It’s only laziness that leads people to chose one or two breeds. I assume then that you would hire someone from a “family of cops” to be a cop but not someone whose family is in real estate? Silly.

  • Sam says:

    Mary the point is that some dogs are simply untrainable no matter where you get them from. This is also true for breeders however they’re most likely to have a dog that hasn’t been affected by cruelty or other cases that would negate other dogs’ chances of success in this training. Remember we do not know where these dogs come from and even sweetest dogs can turn sour if they remember something from their past. One has to remember that finding a shelter dog with the skills is going to be more difficult too needle in the haystack and some cases they may have the traits but not the temperment to be a good security dog. Mind you I’m the first to say adopt a shelter dog first for a pet and love the fact that most if not all these security dogs are adopted by their partners after they retire In fact I’ve yet to read a story where a police dog was put in a shelter. And I love the fact the EMS people are trained to treat these dogs as a police officer if harmed. yes this includes transport. That said I put safety first and right now I cannot see how it is feasible to use shelterrescue dogs even from breed specific rescue groups for this service. This goes true when we simply do not know their backgrounds.

  • Joanna says:

    Actually there are already many service dogs being used around the world for explosives detection narcotics and search and rescue that are originated from shelters. The top trainers for this work get dogs from shelters. Protection dogs are usually bred specifically for tempement and gotten from breeders. Search dogs…not so much. There are many highly bred golden retrieves that owners surrender to shelters becuase the dogs are destructive and impossible to control becuase they are not properly trained that are refocused on search work which requires the drive and stamina that the dogs were bred for. Becuase getting a trained dog from a breeder for this use is costing at least $10000 lots of public agencies look for more cost effective means to get their dogs.

  • Mary J says:

    Well Sam why are purebred dogs from breeders any more special than an “ordanary” shelter dog? I would think that any properly trained dog mutt or purebred could do it. If there is a logical reason though couldn’t purebreds be rescued from breedspecific rescue groups?

  • Sam says:

    Lacey actually most of my pets are rescues. That said my pets are rescues. However I work for law enforcement and fully understand the pros of having a dog specifically bred for this training. There are huge misconceptions to the general public in regard to these brave dogs who risk their lives to help people such as yourself. And the dogs get the best care in the world EMTs MUST get training in veterinary care in case the dog is shot or hurt on duty. To melissa you also do not understand the training involved and just assume that I’m an idiot or wrong for seeing this training firsthand. This training is so strict and by strict I mean pay attention to duty not the treatment of animals that if they fail one aspect of some of the training they are IMMEDIATELY washed out. Some shelter pets are NOT going to be adaptable to this training including possibly your German Shepherd. You may think your pets are good for the law enforcement but I have seen what they do and they have saved my life for it. I wouldn’t trust my safety to just any ordinary dog and I find it shameful that people assume I’m supposedly an “Idiot” for saying that.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    1 week after I rescued my dog Buck who is a black Border CollieLab mix he and I were walking past the Discovery Center in Santa Ana and noticed a police dog exhibition being set up in the parking lot. They had set up some boxes in various places as as we walked across the lot Buck suddenly stiffened up turned twoard one of the boxes and literally dragged me over to it. Once there he kept barking. Over hurries a policeman and I think “Oh great we’re in trouble we messed something up.” The officer picked something out of the box and asked me where I’d gotten Buck and how long I’d had him. I told him I’d adopted him from a shelter about a week before. The officer showed me what was in the box an ounce of pot. After showing us what was in the other boxes which Buck had not responded to dog treats such as hamburger bites scented toys etc the officer told me at some point Buck may have had some training. Then I found myself talking to the head of the k9 division who who offered to buy Buck from me!!! Of course I said “No! He’s my dog. I’m not selling him.” They were very understanding and told me anytime Buck and I wanted to attend training sessions we were welcome. Which is why Buck and I became frequent visitors at the k9 training center watching and learning from the best. And Buck is still really good at finding things although these days it tends to be his toys and my car keys.

  • melissa says:

    Let me comment to the idiot above..Sam!! I RESCUED a GERMAN SHEPARD MIX from a SHELTER see those bold letters those are key words. He is one of the SMARTEST dogs smarter then my RESCUED LAB MIX PIT. My GERMAND SHEPARD would be a damn GOOD police dog. Make sure you experience owning a type of dog cops use before you post your comments mixed or pure and if you have then you obviously don’t spend time with your dogs like a owner should!!

  • Lacey says:

    How sad that people like Sam still harbor the tragic misconception that dogs in shelters are some how “defective.” They are dogs just like any other dogs. Dogs from breeders are no more guaranteed to be free of “defects” than dogs in shelters are. Believe me I’ve had enough “defective” purebreds from socalled reputable breeders to know. My current dog a mutt who was adopted from a shelter is by far the healthiest and most eagertoplease dog I’ve ever had.

  • Mary J says:

    Actually Sam PETA asks in the letter if the dogs could be acquired from shelters OR breedspecific rescue groups so they could find a breed they wanted and still rescue homeless dogs.

  • ccccccc says:

    There are some great law enforcement programs that use shelter dogs now!! But the breeders are very greedy and lobby relentlessly so they get our tax money. The sad thing is the breeder dogs are hopelessly messed up genetically bad hips etc.

  • Sam says:

    Are you guys this naive? Shelter animals are not a good choice here to protect our safety in this case. A purebred animal is better equipped for this job. I do love shelter animals our animals have been strays for the most part. However logic dictates that sometimes shelter isn’t better.