Contrary to viral claims, military did not leave service dogs behind in Afghanistan

Dogs were saved, but they were from small animal rescue

A viral photo on Twitter led to a misleading claim that the U.S. military left service dogs in Kabul while evacuating Afghanistan.

A viral photo on Twitter led to a misleading claim that the U.S. military left service dogs in Kabul while evacuating Afghanistan.

This started after reports published by Fox News and TMZ claimed a non-profit was working to help evacuate dozens of contracted military dogs from Afghanistan amid the full U.S. military pullout.

A photo posted to social media showed several dogs in crates in front of a helicopter. The American Humane Society released a statement criticizing the Biden administration for the alleged abandonment Monday evening.

“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,” said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “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.”

But on Tuesday, the Pentagon addressed the reports, stating the U.S. did not leave any military dogs in Kabul, and the dogs in the photo are animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not under the care of the U.S. military.

“The U.S. priority mission was the evacuation of U.S. citizens, SIV, and vulnerable Afghans. However, to correct erroneous reports, the U.S. military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, to include the reported ‘military working dogs,’” a Defense Department spokesman told the Washington Examiner. “Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the U.S. military. Despite an ongoing complicated and dangerous retrograde mission, U.S. forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible.”

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About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.