U.S. Service Dogs, or a False Accusation?

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Abigail Kinsey, Staff Writer

As the last troops pull out of Afghanistan on their plane home – marking the end of America’s longest war – many people claim that the contract working dogs were left behind.

A viral image depicted the service dogs as they were left in cages as the last plane leaves for America. Left behind by the very country they served, the dogs supposedly had no choice but to lay there in their cages. Many are concerned about the fate of these dogs, as dogs are considered ‘unclean’ by the Taliban. American Humane’s president is outraged by the notion of these dogs being left behind and he offers this: “These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned.”

Though many people seem to believe that the image is real, many others are less believing. Whether it be by denying that the U.S. military would do such a thing, or by simply having suspicions of the origin of the photo; they all beg the same question of whether or not the photo is real, or if it’s fake.

The Pentagon has denied the allegations against them about the abandoning of these dogs. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby claims that no U.S. working dogs were left behind when the last plane left on Monday, and those animals instead belonged to a group called the Kabul Small Animal Rescue; they were not working dogs or dogs under the care of the U.S. military. The Pentagon says that the Kabul Small Animal Rescue was founded by one Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, who was an American woman that was working with the U.S. troops in saving cats and dogs they had befriended while in Afghanistan. When the Taliban took over the country, she and her employees scrambled to get the animals out of the country and into America. 

The Pentagon claims that Charlotte brought the animals to the airport in kennels and asked to allow them on the evacuation flights, but the request was denied due to the need to have every spot available to people evacuating the country. The Pentagon then says that she then tried to charter a civilian aircraft to pick the dogs up, but the plane never arrived. As the last plane left, officials said that Charlotte stayed behind with the dogs to see if she could get any available flight to take them home. 

Pictures of the dogs were tweeted by the rescue group with the hashtag #OperationHercules, and the post went viral. The group then posted for people to stop tweeting the U.S. State Department, and that they had everything under control. However, the post had already gone viral, and the pictures of the dogs were captioned with claims that they were abandoned working dogs.