The State Department sent dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs to Jordan despite having evidence of mistreatment and lack of care for the animals, The Washington Post reported Monday.
A report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) published last week said at least 10 out of the 100 explosive-detection dogs sent to Jordan between 2008 and 2016 died of “various medical problems,” while others were living in unhealthy conditions.
The report stated that the Canine Validation Center (CVC) visited the Jordan facilities where the dogs were kept in April 2016 on behalf of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance. In two facilities, it reported the dogs lacked medical care, sanitary living environments and appropriate training.
“The canines observed were well beyond their working years, and in need of medical care,” said the CVC evaluation from the visit, which was quoted in the OIG report.
Several canines were reported to be “beyond working years” and in need of retirement “immediately,” according to the CVC’s evaluation. Dogs were also observed to have hip dysplasia, a disease called parvo and arthritis, and in some cases they had “lost the will to work.” Several had died of heat exhaustion.
CVC recommended in its evaluation that the department give medical training to Jordanian veterinarians and send U.S. veterinarians to assist.
Officials from the department told the OIG they were aware the Jordanian dog program was in “dire straits” after mentors visited in January 2017.
But since 2016, the state department gave 66 dogs to Jordan despite knowledge of the status of the facilities in the program, according to the OIG report.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter asking what steps his department is taking in response to the OIG report, according to a release obtained by The Hill. Grassley asked in the letter for a list of countries that have and have not signed agreements on the appropriate care that should be afforded to the dogs.
“The report raises concerns that the State Department has not taken adequate steps to ensure that dogs placed into service in foreign countries through this program receive adequate nutrition, living conditions, or veterinary care,” Grassley wrote. “I am especially troubled by the report’s findings that some of the dogs placed in Jordan through the EDCP program have been underfed, kept in unsanitary kennels, and become infested with external parasites.”
The State Department told The Washington Post that it could not stop the program because of “national security related efforts focused on protecting American interests” and because “assisting Jordan in combating active terrorist threats would be negatively impacted by such a move.”
The OIG report stated that the department sent a veterinarian and veterinary technician to the country for a year, costing $540,000. The department also told the OIG that it gave suggested health and welfare plans to Jordan but did not provide the OIG with the documents.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
—Updated at 4:25 p.m.