In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Mike Ritland, a former Navy Seal veteran, discussed his founding of Trikos International, an intensive dog training company that prepares dogs for war, among other uses. He breeds dogs and from birth, raises them to fight, exposing them to loud noises and other stimuli that mimic combat so they never lose sight of their given “purpose.” His company sells dogs for all kinds of protection; personal, military, police, but if you’re “not sure how the dog will fit into your lifestyle,” as his website states, he also offers a lease option. No, we’re not talking about a gun or an alarm system, but a living, feeling being for “lease.” I’m sure Mr. Ritland makes a handsome living off these dogs.
During the said 60 Minutes interview, another soldier, who lost his legs to an IED despite his dog’s repeated warnings, was asked if he thought what he is doing, essentially putting his dog in danger, is unfair to the dog. He uncomfortably answered that it’s better than sending in a soldier who may get killed. In other words, the dogs are expendable.
Sadly, there are few animal advocacy organizations willing to address this polemical abuse, yet there are many war organizations promoting the victimization of dogs in war.
We have an ethical and moral obligation to do what is right by animals and keep them out of harm's way. People make wars, fight wars, and often die in them. This is something that we do all too well and that we should finish—alone. Leave the dogs out of it.
How terrible it is, therefore, that we are so seldom dependable.