Army Policy Causing Soldiers with Service Dogs to Get Harassed

Assistance Dogs International

It should be a non issue that soldiers who are injured mentally or physically during their time with the army be given all of the tools that they need in order to live their life to the best of their ability. But if one of those tools happens to be a Service Dog then they can expect harassment from senior officers to try an get them to do things to get dishonorably discharged loosing their medical and other benefits and a lengthy process to obtain clearance to get a dog which includes a review board and the need to be prescribed a service dog by an Army Doctor as a civilian doctor no longer counts.

Apparently the Army can make it own rules about personnel keeping service dogs on base and since earlier this year it is no longer a given that they can do so. The dog must perform at least 3 specific tasks for the soldier the other “more conventional” therapies do not help. The soldier must only look to a service dog as a last resort – after drugs, Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy have failed. They also must only obtain a dog through an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited facility as no other accreditation is allowed any longer what this means is that for soldiers living and working (transitioning from their injury) in any of the 18 States without an ADI accredited organization they must seek dogs from other facilities far from where they live. Many of which already have a long wait list. While it is important that the dog can perform the tasks the soldier needs them to perform and have gone through a minimum amount of training they could also help facilitate an extra week or two of training for the soldiers and their dogs to make sure that they are a good match and the dog can perform the tasks necessary. Or even have a training program on some bases where the injured soldiers and those in need of the service dogs help to train them for their own use and the use of other soldiers.

For now the harassment goes beyond snide remarks about the soldiers weaknesses to accusing them of lying about the injuries. It goes beyond high ranking officers harassing soldiers who use their service dog 24/7 because they bring them into the office with them. In fact there was a recent report of another soldier deliberately kicking a service dog in the head as they walked by. Instead of harassing the sick, injured, or traumatized soldiers by making them wait up to a year before they can leave service after their injury has been documented why not let them leave if they clearly can’t fight any longer and are treated with disrespect. Why not let them get back to civilian life or perform jobs on base that are normally given to civilians so they don’t have to be in contact with officers that no longer feel they have any use. Something that is currently making these injured soldiers more depressed and in need of even more help.

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  1. I heard this on the news the other day. It is shameful of our government to not allow service dogs.

  2. Stephanie Hungerford says:

    This is just plain wrong. These officers should be court marshaled for the treatment of these injured soldiers and their service dogs. I wish a bunch of these soldiers could get together for a class action law suit against the military for this extreme mistreatment, and causing undue mental direst. And only allowing one over worked under represented accrediting board they are trying to make it impossible for soldiers to get the needed animal. If they do not court marshal the the officers for their cruelty to the soldiers they should be charged civilly for their cruelty to the dogs if they are kicking them. These officers need their rank removed.

  3. That should be a no-brainer. Why is that our government takes from these soldiers and then doesn’t give them what they need when they need it.

    My taxes go to war. My taxes should also go toward rehab and healing.

  4. Bre Dale says:

    That is so wrong- it is a human right.

  5. Grrr. That is just wrong and mean. Clearly these are not “OUR” priorities – I can’t believe how self-centered our government is

  6. It seems odd that this form of treatment is viewed with more predjudice then others. It’s sad that soldiers have to go through all the loops and humiliation to get the help that they need.

  7. Teresha says:

    talk about adding insult to injury. they should get their congressional rep involved.

  8. what a simple jolly alternative to drugs, rehab, and discharge. Why wouldn’t this be allowed? Seems so demeaning?

  9. This makes me angry! And while I tend to agree with you about letting them just return to civilian life, I imagine there are administrative duties they can perform that they can do better because they’ve served (or perhaps they have clearance for because of their previous duties), and they should be able to do those kinds of jobs without harassment or injury to their service animal.

  10. Hearing stories like this embarrasses me. How can our military be so backward in it’s thinking? Let’s keep our soldiers addicted to prescription drugs and make the transition back to civilian life even more difficult. That way we can further increase costs of their recovery and the burden on the existing veterans hospitals. Geez. Just embarrassing.

  11. THey should get their senate involved. This is so wrong on so many levels!

  12. All shameful, but the guy who kicked the dog should have been disciplined for sure.

  13. That is SO messed up! As an army family and as a disabled person with a service dog… SHAME!!
    I wonder when compassion and common sense went flying out the window.

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