Handlers searched for dogs as Army gave them to company in violation of official policy.
Army Specialist Jake Carlberg and his dog Abby spent over a year sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan. They served with distinction, bonded, and saved lives.
“He would always say that she was his best friend,” said Glenna Carlberg, Jake’s wife. “They searched for bombs for his company. … They found seven.”
That was good enough to make them one of the top dog teams in their brigade, she said, but it was not enough to ensure they would be able to stay together after Abby was retired.
When they returned home, Jake tried for months to reunite with Abby. However, the Army, going against its own policy, had given Abby to a private contractor that tried to sell her to a foreign government before ultimately abandoning her in a Virginia kennel.
Abby is one of 13 dogs the Army gave to Soliden Technologies LLC, in contravention of procedures stating that the dogs’ former handlers should have the first opportunity to adopt them. Instead of being reunited with the veterans with whom they had served overseas, the dogs became pawns in a complicated and ultimately failed scheme to sell them for more work overseas. When the plan to sell the dogs fell through, their caretaker at the time says he was told to “dispose” of them.
The Tactical Explosive Detection Dog program (TEDD) to which Jake and Abby belonged sent hundreds of bomb-sniffing dogs to Iraq and Afghanistan as a countermeasure to the threat of improvised explosive devices. The program was similar to, but distinct from, the Military Working Dog program (MWD).
When the program ended in February 2014, the Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG) had to determine what to do with the remaining 229 dogs.
“Seventy were retained by the Army,” Army spokesman Troy A. Rolan Sr. told theWashington Free Beacon. “The remaining 159 were made available for adoption at no cost to the individual or agency adopting the dogs. Sixty-three were adopted by law enforcement agencies, 47 were adopted by private citizens, and unfortunately due to medical or aggression issues, nine were euthanized.”