(CNN)The Army mishandled the adoptions of bomb-sniffing dogs that served in Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense inspector general says in a new report.
Army mishandled bomb-sniffing dogs' adoptions, Pentagon watchdog says
More than 200 dogs served alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan from February 2011 to February 2014 as part of the Tactical Explosive Detector Dog program to combat the surge in improvised explosive devices. But when the program was abruptly ended in 2014, the Army gave its managers less than two months to transition the four-legged war heroes out of that role, the report, released Thursday, found.
"In its haste to transfer dogs to law-enforcement agencies and to adopt other dogs out to civilians, the Army failed to vet some potential recipients," the report said.
The Army did not always follow the recommendations of veterinarians at Fort Bragg, who screened the dogs for medical and adoption suitability, according to the report.
In one instance included in the report, the Army signed off on allowing a family with children to adopt a dog that possibly had undergone biting training. The Army also allowed a dog with "canine PTSD" to live with a separate family with children. The dog was transferred to a local sheriff's department nine days later.
Thirteen of the bomb-sniffing dogs adopted by a private company were abandoned at a Virginia kennel for more than a year until two nonprofit canine rescue organizations stepped in to reunite them with their military handlers.
The Army also did not have the dogs neutered, as required, before allowing them to be adopted.
According to the report, the Army did not accurately track the dogs after they left service. The Defense Department reported to Congress last year that the Army had found placements for 229 dogs in its program, but the inspector general report found that actually 232 dogs were placed, meaning the disposition of three had gone unreported.
The House Committee on Armed Service had asked the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate the program in 2016 after soldiers struggled to adopt or be reunited with their dogs.
According to the report, the Army is working to comply with the inspector general's recommendations to better track and vet adoptions for any future military working dog programs it decides to fund.