The U.S. State Department has continued to send bomb-sniffing dogs to Jordan to assist in anti-terrorism efforts, despite knowing for years that several dogs provided through the Explosive Detection Canine Program have died from heat exhaustion and disease, according to a report from the Office of Inspector General.
What are the details?
According to The Washington Post, "The State Department sent dozens of highly skilled explosive-detection dogs to Jordan, even after the agency assessed a high degree of mistreatment and failure to care for the animals in 2016."
The report details the doom that befell a number of animals, including 2-year-old Zoe, a Belgian Malinois that died of heat stroke; 3-year-old Mencey, who had to be sent back to the U.S. and euthanized due to the progression of an untreated tick-borne illness; and 2-year-old Athena who was returned to America after being found "emaciated" due to "inadequate feeding." Athena was nursed back to health.
More than 100 working dogs have been provided to Jordan since 2008. Of those, "at least 10 canines died from various medical problems from 2008 through 2016 while others were living in unhealthy conditions," the report stated. The Hill reported that "since 2016, the state department gave 66 dogs to Jordan despite knowledge of the status of the facilities in the program."
In addition to detailing the animals' mistreatment, the report also points out the cost of the program to American taxpayers. "A DS/ATA official estimated that a 30-day foreign handler course that includes the provision of 15 trained dogs costs approximately $450,000."
The Hill further pointed out that the State Department "sent a veterinarian and veterinary technician to the country for a year, costing $540,000."
The State Department agreed to implement all of the IG's recommendations, except for one: to stop the program with Jordan until the dogs' safety could be assured. Citing "national security related efforts focused on protecting American interests," the agency said it was crucial to not halt the program because "assisting Jordan in combating active terrorist threats would be negatively impacted by such a move."
How did Jordan respond?
A spokesperson from the Jordanian Embassy told CNN analyst Kim Dozier, "Jordan takes the welfare of its security working dogs very seriously. An investigation has begun, including external assessors. No further comment will be made until the investigation is concluded."