Wednesday, January 20, 2010

U.S. “drug-sniffing” dogs abused, neglected, killed in Pakistan

Yesterday, while strolling the quaint streets of Doylestown, PA, my father’s beautiful yellow lab, Nellie, in tow, we met a woman who was about to collect three labs and one German Shepherd who were being sent back to the U.S. from Pakistan.

Apparently, as the woman explained, the U.S. (Military? Civilians?) donated many dogs to help Pakistan “sniff out” drug operations (which are said to fund Al-Qaeda) in that country. She was scheduled to drive to JFK airport, outside NYC, to pick up the remaining dogs from this failed operation.

(As a former reporter who always wants to get her facts straight, I have tried to research the situation, but am not finding much online—mostly just postings by breeders who want to ship dogs to Pakistan…)

Apparently, the problem here—one that no one appears to have adequately researched beforehand—is that Pakistanis seem to have a widespread (cultural) aversion to dogs and absolutely zero infrastructure for, or possibly even concept of, animal welfare. They do have other problems which probably seem more pressing...

I was also told that people in Pakistan tend to think dogs are rather disgusting; they don’t want to work with them, can’t usually afford to keep them as pets, and let’s be honest: they probably aren’t (based on long-term lack of results) all that into fighting the drug/terrorism war, either.

Our American German Shepherd Dogs and Labs—trained, well-behaved, good dogs all—have reportedly been systematically neglected, abused, starved and killed in Pakistan.

Out of 100 dogs sent to Pakistan, four (yes, FOUR) were said (by my source) to have survived.

This woman in Doylestown was taking them all in. What a nice person; I wish I had gotten her name.

She was worried about the temperature shock to the dogs—coming from 80+ degree Pakistan to cold Pennsylvania. She wanted to get them all coats for the car trip! She wondered what size; assuming these big dogs are now skeletal, what size should she get? Three dogs are male, one is female.

What can I say now except that I am proud of this woman’s gesture? I can’t imagine the personal expense of this project (I don’t think the U.S. is paying for this). The photo of the German Shepherd dog above is positively heartbreaking (see tinyurl address below for more information and photo credit).

I wish I could do something to help.

What I can do is write about this, in the hopes that others can look into the matter, as well, and help save these dogs.

I realize that we have many animals right here in the U.S. that need our help. Believe me, I know. I have a rescue dog. I advocate helping local dogs, too.

Let’s all help where we can. That seems the best plan, after all—and let’s help fix unforeseen problems when we realize, finally, what’s been going on.


  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    PLEASE Google animal rights groups and get this to them if you haven't already. This is horrible. Thank you so much for posting it. I am heartbroken, the image alone, and the story. Peace. ~ Diane

  2. Good plan--and thanks for reading. Again, I am having trouble getting information on this operation, which seems strange in and of itself.

  3. Alright--just found an article on U.S. "dog surge" now being sent to Afghanistan. There's an AP article circulating now (as of 1/23/10). I really hope it's not the same misguided situation as I was trying to report on.