(CNN)Bomb-sniffing dogs sent from the United States to its Middle Eastern ally Jordan are falling ill and dying due to poor treatment and negligence, a federal investigation has found.
A year-long evaluation by inspectors at the State Department found that at least 10 such dogs in Jordan died between 2008 and 2016 from medical problems. Even those who survive are suffering from “unhealthy conditions,” such as inadequate kennels, poor sanitation, and overwork.
Photos in the report, published last week, show emaciated dogs with ribs protruding from their sides. Their nails are overgrown, and their ears are home to ticks so engorged they have likely been feasting on the dogs for days. In some facilities, there weren’t any dog bowls — the handlers fed the dogs by simply throwing food on the floor.
According to the report, the State Department’s loose regulation and lack of concrete policies were a big factor in the dogs’ mistreatment.
The report laid out five recommendations, including more frequent welfare checks and the creation of a written agreement with partner nations. The State Department fully agreed to four of the recommendations — but did not agree to a suggestion to stop sending dogs to Jordan until there was a sustainability plan put in place.
Since the report’s publication last week, US officials have demanded long-overdue action — Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, requesting more information and a briefing on the issue.”It is important for Congress to know whether the (program) is operating effectively and efficiently and whether animals involved in the program are being treated according to the humane and ethical standards that the American people undoubtedly expect,” Grassley wrote.
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