Monumental effort underway to rescue over 50 ‘brave’ US military dogs stranded in Afghanistan

A non-profit group is working diligently to rescue dozens of U.S. military working dogs abandoned at the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday as the war in Afghanistan officially ended and the last transport plane went wheels up at the Taliban-imposed deadline.

Later in the day, Pentagon officials announced that while all U.S. troops had been withdrawn, “hundreds” of Americans remained stranded in the war-torn country, though roughly two weeks ago, President Joe Biden pledged that no American would be left behind.

But apparently, American citizens weren’t the only ones, according to Joshua Hosler, president of a group called Veteran Sheepdogs of America.

According to TMZ, the organization was tasked with the responsibility of getting 51 military working dogs out of Kabul last week, tweeting a picture over the weekend of several dog carriers in front of a helicopter that looks out of action. Those crates represented a small part of the overall number of dogs that were abandoned during the military withdrawal, Hosler said.

“UPDATE: Kabul Airfield. Working on getting working dogs out. Whatever mess you think Kabul is… it’s worse!” the group noted in a tweet accompanying the posted photo.

A subsequent tweet included another photo of still more carriers containing more working dogs.

Hosler told TMZ he is in a desperate plea for $1.67 million to cover the costs of boarding the dogs on a 737 commercial airliner out of the country, and that he’s close to achieving his objective.

“Joshua tells us they’ve reached the $1.4 million mark with two big donors to still come through, he’s confident they’ll hit their goal of $1.67 million,” TMZ posted in an update late Monday afternoon.

Before, Hosler’s group posted that it had reached the funding goal but that an animal rights group fell through, leaving them short again.

“51 contracted military working dogs are safe & being cared for in their crates. We had all funds for the plane, but an animal rescue org fell through. So we are scrambling to cover their amount of $500,000 of the $1.67 million,” the group posted.

“State Department has heard your cries & is assisting. THANK YOU! The Turkish have taken over the airfield & things are actually smoother than the last 2 days to get info & PPR papers to Ramstein,” the massive U.S. airbase in Germany, the group wrote in another post.

The plan, the group added, is to get the dogs to Germany where they will be quarantined for a month before being put aboard planes back to the U.S. and, eventually, “donated to police departments in need.”

Another group called American Humane, which is dedicated to providing for the safety and care of animals, said Monday that it will stand by to assist in transporting contract K-9 ‘soldiers’ to the U.S. and provide a lifetime of medical care for them.

“It sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement. “In order to prevent this tragedy from occurring, these K-9’s should be loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety.

“I am devastated by reports that the American government is pulling out of Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies,” Ganzert noted further. “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.”

Jon Dougherty

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