Taking Action for Military Families and Their Pets

August 21, 2012  

Those signing a petition to standardize pet regulations on military bases hope to stop the senseless separation of families

There are more and more heartbreaking stories in the news about military families having no other choice than to leave their pet behind. Military housing rules are inconsistent, with varying restrictions and numbers of pets allowed. These ever-changing rules put a hindrance on military families who never know from one base to the next if they will be able to take their pets along with them. If they’re lucky, their pets may find a family member or friend to live with, but more often than not, beloved pets end up in shelters awaiting an uncertain fate. A petition has been started to try and encourage the military to standardize pet regulations across all bases. To sign the petition, click here. Below are testimonials from some who have already signed and are speaking up against these problematic rules.

“We recently took in my brother’s dog, Sampson. My brother, who is in the Army, returned for Iraq and he, his wife and baby moved onto the military base housing. He was not allowed to keep his beloved pet because of the rules against owning ‘bully breeds.’ I must add that Sampson is very well behaved and is extremely loving and does not have an aggressive bone in his body. We were luckily able to accept this wonderful dog into our home, and his story has a somewhat happy ending. I say somewhat because my brother and his family do miss him, and it has been an emotional time for my brother. Those who fight for our country and risk their lives for our freedom should not have to go through this. It breaks my heart to think there are animals losing their lives because of the stupidity of people and the way they treat their pets. Punish the deed, not the breed!” – Crystal Cook

“I work in rescue, and face time and time again the fact that people are dealing with varying rules at varying posts. The dogs which fall under the ‘breed-specific’ rule and are not allowed within the housing cause a lot of problems for us in rescue. One post will allow a bulldog because they are not on the restricted list, but another post will not allow them because ‘they look like a pit bull.’ If those deciding are not able to recognize and differentiate breeds, they have no business enforcing incorrect restrictions.” – Anonymous

“Please clarify and educate, or do away with the breed-discriminatory rules (unless personnel get stationed overseas), and inform the soldiers from the beginning so that they are aware of the risk and their responsibilities. As for the number of pets allowed in housing, please, please make it the same everywhere. Our pets are our family. If we have four canine family members allowed at one post, and then we get stationed someplace where the limit is three, we have to opt out of the safety of on-post housing because we try not to forsake our ‘family members.’ Regardless of what is decided, please make it consistent!” – Liz Rainey

“Because my husband and I are not able to have children and our two dogs, a female black Lab and a male Lab/Whippet mix, mean the world to us. It is difficult finding a home that allows what some states consider a large breed. Also, I think it is important for the military to enforce animal abuse laws as well as educate soldiers as to what constitutes neglecting an animal. Make sure communication lines are open between housing and the military police (MP) instead of each one dumping the ‘problem’ on the other. Too much time is spent on deciding whose problem it is, housing or MP’s, and the only ones who suffer are the pets. Set a standard of who is going to be held responsible to make sure soldiers can take care of their pets. Do not pass the problem off to someone else, take action. Become accountable.” – Jennifer Graham

“I am a military spouse and spent 12 years working as a veterinary technician and volunteering in animal rescue. I also helped found and oversee Sigonella Animal Rescue/Shelter at Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Sicily from 2002-2004. I have personally witnessed the dark side of housing restrictions and animals abandoned by military personnel who transfer, deploy, or move into housing. I do not agree with breed-discriminatory laws or inconsistent, uninformed breed restrictions. I believe in educating pet owners and better enforcement of existing licensing laws and responsible pet ownership.” – Jill Michalski

“I am a Navy veteran and Navy widow. I am also disabled and require the use of an assistance dog. Mine happens to be a pit bull. Am I to be denied commissary privileges because I use a breed that is banned by the military but allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Which federal agency trumps which? Anyone who sees her tail waving in the air as she proudly pulls my wheelchair at near mach speed, turning right or left at vocal command, cannot doubt that she is an essential part of a team.” – Kathryn Bales

“If you’ve ever clung to and cried into the fur of your pet, or sat up at night worrying when your pet failed to come home, or watched your child snuggle asleep on the floor with your pet, then you know why I’m signing this. If you haven’t, you have missed out on some of the simplest, most comforting things in life that were free just because you loved and owned a dog, or any pet for that matter. Please help these soldiers who relocate for the military keep their pets. It seems a small thing when looking at the big picture of what they do for our country and us. Thank you for looking out for our military! God bless.” – Teresa Murray

“As a mother-in-law to a U.S. Army soldier, I had to witness the psychological devastation my daughter and grandson had to endure because they weren’t allowed to bring their shepherd/Chow mix dog with them to their next duty assignment. These families have enough hardships to endure while their loved ones are deployed and then to have to tear their family apart once more because they are forced to give up their beloved pet? Let’s get this figured out before any more families have to lose a pet because of some stupid technicality!” – Jacqueline Young

Sign the petition to standardize military pet policies. Visit Dogs on Deployment for more info.

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One Response to “Taking Action for Military Families and Their Pets”
  1. Myst4 says:

    I just got rid of my dog that I raised from 8weeks to now 2 1/2 yrs old. I am beyond broken hearted!! All because our military housing wont allow her here. She is sweet and loved by many!! But for some odd reason we can’t have pets. (Yet other Apt military housing can) I don’t get the rules for some but not for others. We are in duplex with a patio & Grass outside our front area!! My heart is so broken and I would give anything to have my baby girl back!! XO Thank you so much for this site, I’m glad I am not alone!! XO~Mistie