Soldier's e-mail sparks food drive for Iraqi dogs

Submitted by Cecil on 1/7/05 at 12:32 PM. ( )

Here's some more of what some of you called "bullcrap." I guess a well fed dog that is good at sniffing out bombs is not a priority in Iraq eh? Sure glad someone out there has a better attitude and is less selfish then some of you.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Just before the New Year, Army Reserve Capt. Gabriella Cook sent an urgent e-mail from Iraq requesting food shipments. Not for her or her unit -- for Iraqi police dogs.

"The dogs are starving and urgently need dry dog food," Cook wrote in a December 28 e-mail that said the Iraqi Interior Ministry's only bomb-sniffing police dogs were eating table scraps and garbage.

The response to the canine crisis has been overwhelming: Offers of help poured in from New Hampshire, Florida, Texas, Ohio and New York. One sports gambling handicapper alone ponied up $5,000.

The Las Vegas Valley Humane Society is now trying to find a way to ship pallets of dry dog food to Iraq to feed the 12 undernourished German shepherds and one black Labrador retriever at the Iraqi Police Academy.

The Nevada effort appeared to be unique, said Stephanie Shain, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the United States in Washington. She said the national organization was contacting officials on Capitol Hill about Cook's account.

The appeal to help feed the Iraqi dogs also has a human benefit. After all, having healthy Iraqi bomb-sniffing dogs translates into safer U.S. troops.

"If one dog smells one bomb and saves a platoon's life, it's worth it," Terry Muratore, a veterinarian who looks after Cook's pets, told The Associated Press.

Muratore said his telephone started ringing with offers of help after he was first quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal about Cook's request to "please send all the dog food you can."

In Baghdad, military spokesman Staff Sgt. Don Dees said the care of Iraqi police dogs was separate from U.S. military working dogs, which he said were well-fed.

"Each dog handler deploys with their dog and 180 days of rations," Dees said of U.S. canine teams. "The MPs tell me sometimes the dogs eat better than the handlers."

Stephan Bognar, a field agent with WildAid, a San Francisco-based animal welfare group, said he was not surprised by the report that Iraqi dogs were going hungry in Baghdad.

"Dogs were a problem, even at the zoo," said Bognar, who helped rebuild the Baghdad Zoo after coalition forces entered the city in 2003. The zoo lost 600 animals to theft, escape or death, Bognar said.

Cook, a Las Vegas police officer, is commander of the Las Vegas-based 313th Military Police Detachment. The unit arrived in Baghdad in mid-December to train Iraqi police, including officers with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Cook's friend Diana Paivanas said Thursday that she has heard twice by e-mail from Cook, who was excited by the stateside response.

"That is so wonderful," Cook wrote in an e-mail thanking Paivanas. "P.S. the Iraqi bomb dogs helped us Americans to sniff out a building."

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Very interesting

This response submitted by Bradlee on 1/7/05 at 12:45 PM. ( )

I say if those dogs are saving lives like that , we should save theirs alo . Bradlee

Cecil, your first post was misleading

This response submitted by George on 1/7/05 at 1:10 PM. ( )

It IMPLIED that the police dogs were AMERICAN animals used by OUR forces. This one's in a lot clearer context and I'm personally not surprised at all. People who don't hold human life any more sacred than the radical muslims hardly have time to care for the lower life forms such as dogs. If you recall, that's what they call US.

I still say

This response submitted by Liz on 1/8/05 at 10:50 AM. ( )

That if the US is involved with training the officers AND THEIR BOMB SNIFFING DOGS, I find it VERY hard to believe that the dogs are roaming the streets hungry. We are talking about 13 dogs......not 13,000. Why would the military OR the soldiers themselves go through the trouble to train them, and then let them starve to death? Even if they didn't have enough dog food, I find it even harder to believe they couldn't scrape up some rations for them from the dining table. If it's good enough for soldiers to eat, it's not good enough for the Iraqi dogs......?

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