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Animal rights advocates working on new distinction for military dogs

Military Working Dogs (MWDs) cannot be classified as manpower by the Department of Defense, so they are put into the "equipment" group, an identification that does not give them many privileges once they retire from service, the Military Times reports.

Handlers of these dogs think of them as best friends and fellow soldiers as they work alongside troops to sniff bombs and conduct other important jobs, according to the Department of Defense website. However, once they retire they are classified as excess equipment, making their adoption process more difficult, according to Debbie Kandoll, the founder of Military Working Dog Adoptions.

She told the news outlet that retired MWDs do not get the benefits they deserve after their service, such as transportation home, medical care and commendations. It can be expensive for adopters to bring the dog to their homes, especially if it has been stationed overseas. In addition, many dogs have sustained serious injuries that require expensive veterinary care.

Kandoll told the news source that adopters, including civilians, should be able to take a retired MWD to a military vet on a nearby base so the services can be paid for at cost - something that would save owners and the military money. 
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