USA: Keep Military Families and Their Pets Together

Pit bull
Sec. 2863 of H.R. 6395 & Sec. 1050 of S. 4049 – Breed Neutral Dog Policy on Military Bases
ASPCA Position: Support

Update—January 3. 2021: The final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) enacted on January 1 unfortunately stripped the requirement included in the bills passed separately by the House and Senate that the Dept. of Defense’s (DoD) new dangerous dog policy be explicitly breed-neutral. While the law does require the DoD to work with veterinary and behavioral experts to develop a uniform new policy, there is no guarantee this policy will be breed-neutral. The ASPCA will continue to advocate to the DoD the need for our nation’s servicemembers and their families to have a breed-neutral policy across all branches.

Did you know that the U.S. military doesn’t allow servicemembers to keep certain dog breeds? Currently, the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps have an inconsistent patchwork of policies on certain breeds of dogs—like American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers—banning them from bases and military housing. These policies threaten to tear dogs from their families when servicemembers are required to transfer to new housing or a new location that might have different rules. There’s no reason for the military to have these policies, since there is no evidence that breed bans make communities safer for people or pets.

Thankfully, Congress has included a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—a large annual military policy bill that would remove the breed-specific bans and create a standardized dangerous dog policy across all military branches without arbitrary breed restrictions.

People in our military already make great sacrifices—they shouldn’t have to give up their dogs just because of the dog’s breed.