The Department of Defense is asking President Obama for permission to expand the military's current animal cruelty policy to include abandonment and to also apply to personal pets rather than just those owned by the military. The constant relocation and reassignment of military families has resulted in many pets simply being left behind, abandoned, and unattended. Stars and Stripes is reporting that the problem is so great in places like Hawaii and Germany that local shelters are reluctant to adopt pets to Americans and/or military families at all.
The military is further concerned that the problem will worsen as United Airlines, the airline contracted to transport military personnel, refuses to permit certain breeds of dogs, such as American Staffordshire Terriers, on their planes, and will not waive this restriction for the Defense Department.
While I fully support holding those who choose to have a pet responsible for caring for that pet and accountable to the authorities for not doing so, I would also suggest that the military drop United Airlines and contract with another carrier so those with "banned" family dogs can travel without the additional heartbreak of the loss of a pet or the expense of funding their own flights on another airline. It seems an unnecessary stressor for those who would otherwise not abandon their pet.
In fact, if all pet lovers chose, in sympathy, to fly with different airlines - maybe we would see an attitude change from United.
The president is expected to decide this spring.