The Impacts of Inconsistent Pet Restrictions on Base

August 29, 2012  

Military families across the country share their stories

The U.S. military forces are among the bravest and most selfless people in our country. They dedicate and risk their lives to protect our citizens and rights. While serving in the military, it’s common to be transferred to varying locations both within the U.S. as well as internationally. Moving is stressful and uprooting your entire life over and over again is difficult. To make matters worse, pet rules vary from one location to the next, limiting how many pets are allowed and prohibiting select breeds and types of dogs. Risking life and comfort for our country is part of military service. For all that our service men and women do for our country, to deny them the familiarity and love of their own pets is not acceptable. Pets are family and should be able to provide comfort and affection to their loving owners no matter where life and military service may take them.

Here, and in many other stories on our site, we share the stories of many military families have been impacted by the inconsistent pet restrictions currently in place:

“I moved off base just to keep my baby. I followed the base’s ‘grandfather-in’ rule to keep my Staffordshire Bull Terrier on base. This only bought us an extra year and a half, and then they were going to kick us out if I did not give up my dog. No thanks. I will live off base.” — Erica

“My husband is active duty Navy E4 and has been in for two years. We are currently at New London sub base in Groton, Conn. We now live in base housing here, and they did not have an issue with Cody, our dog. I don’t get why one base would have an issue and the other wouldn’t. [Because of inconsistent pet restrictions] we spent over a year apart.” — Heather

“I have a Boxer/Lab mix, but the base said he looked like a pit bull, and we were told we had to get our dog’s blood checked to show that he wasn’t a pit bull because they wouldn’t take the veterinarian’s word to be enough. In the meantime, our house was on hold for us, and we signed all the leasing documents and everything. The blood test came back, and our dog was less than 3 percent pit bull, but because he was some part pit bull, we couldn’t keep him and had to sign other papers saying we wouldn’t have him on base. I spent over $500 flying him to California to live with my parents, and then after it was done we went in to get our keys and show them that our dog was now in California. They had given our house away to someone else after we signed a leasing agreement, and they said they didn’t think that we would give up our dog. We had nowhere else to go, and the apartment we were staying in was going up in price, and we couldn’t afford it. They finally found us a house, and it wasn’t fully ready for new move-in condition, but we needed a house by that weekend. So we moved in and got a bad location and stained carpet because they didn’t have time to fix it. I lost my best dog and got a bad place to live. It’s stupid how they choose what dogs can stay. I’ve been bitten twice by the Chihuahua next door, but that’s OK because it’s small.” — Jessica

“I have a gorgeous pit bull named Willie that a devastated soldier brought to our shelter. He had to give him up due to breed-discriminatory legislation at the base he is transferring to. It was heart wrenching to watch this brave soldier kiss his best friend goodbye with tears running down his face. Something has to be done.” — Katherine

“When we received a Permanent Change of Station to Germany, we were told at the last minute (literally the day before we left) that they only allowed families to have two pets. We ended up having to give one of our cats to my aunt and uncle before we left. I’m so glad that they were able to take him because I know that he is happy, loved and safe. Seeing this post brought me to tears, I still miss him so much.” — Jessica

“We adopted an amazing Rottweiler in Virginia seven years ago and had no problems in either Virginia or Connecticut, but when were about to move to Florida we found that she was not allowed in housing (even though the same parent company managed both the Connecticut and Florida housing communities). Being as we have special needs children, I was able to get special paperwork together to have her here as an ESA (Emotional Support Animal), but it took over six months to complete, and thankfully during this time my sister in Massachusetts was able to foster her. I agree that policies need to be standardized across the board. Honestly, I am more scared of my neighbors little yippy dog than I am of my Rottie.” — Jessica Miller, a Navy spouse stationed in Mayport, Fla.

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

(photos by Melissa Lipani)

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