Dogs on Military Duty

More than 700 dogs are serving in Afghanistan

By Mari Peyton
|  Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 5:22 PM PDT
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Dogs assist troops in Afghanistan and other war zones.

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Military working dogs play an important role in war zones. Their success rate has been so great, the military has funded a program to increase the number of active dogs over the next two years.

They were recently in the spotlight after it was learned that Military working dogs were involved in the Pakistan raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

"Military working dogs that serve with our armed forces have just done an amazing job. They go out there, they do their job they don't think about the consequences," John Van Zante with the Rancho Coastal Humane Society said.

The dogs are so valuable that two new programs - one in the Army and the other in the Marine Corps will be funded for the next two years to put more dogs on the front lines alongside troops.
Military working dogs are fully trained in the detection of landmines and IED's.

According to the Military working dogs foundation, there are 725 teams of dogs and handlers serving in Afghanistan.

There are reportedly 40 teams stationed in Iraq.

John Van Zante said dogs exposed to the sound of explosions can react the same way as soldiers. Dogs can also suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Others come home with little or no visible signs of their time spent in war.

"There can be mines they can be shot at they can have normal injuries like anyone else," Van Zante said. " When it comes to the line of duty they are American soldiers and they get the same medical treatment and respect as anyone else."

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