WASHINGTON (AP) – Bomb-detection dogs sent by the United States to Jordan and Egypt got sick and in some cases died because of improper care, according to a State Department report released Friday.
The State Department Office of Inspector General recommended that two U.S. agencies stop sending the specially trained dogs to the two countries until they have plans in place to make sure they are taken care of and monitored to ensure their well-being.
The two agencies, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Counter-terrorism, agreed to the recommendation and said earlier this month they had taken actions to protect the dogs, according to the OIG. The agencies had resisted halting the program when an initial report on the subject was released in September.
The State Department has sent more than 200 dogs to various countries overseas to help prevent terrorism over the past 20 years.
The September OIG report raised concerns about Jordan and found â€œongoing health and welfare concerns among dogs deployed to Jordan,” which is the largest recipient of the dogs in the explosive-detection program. The report released Friday was an update issued after investigators learned of continuing problems and additional deaths.
It found several dogs died or had to be euthanized over the past 18 months, including at least two from heat stroke, one from a preventable parasite and a fourth from a pesticide sprayed in or near its kennel. The report said Jordan has agreed to stop using that pesticide around the kennels.
A veterinarian consulted by the OIG said the heat stroke deaths were a result of â€œnegligence and improper care,â€ and not accidents.
In Egypt, the report said at least three dogs died, including one from heat stroke, and that officials there refused to allow State Department personnel to visit the kennels or the airport where the dogs work.
The Bureau of Counter-terrorism and Bureau of Diplomatic Security told the State Department’s internal watchdog that they are providing additional equipment and training to host country handlers and veterinarians.
Neither country had any immediate comment on the report.
This story has been corrected to say that 200 dogs have been sent to various countries over the past 20 years, not two years.