Local

November 1, 2012

Strict changes made to Installation Pet Policy

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Maranda Flynn
Staff Writer

A friendly pet, Copper, is one of the many canine species permitted in Fort Huachuca housing. Like other installations, Fort Huachuca no longer permits certain breeds of dogs often bred for hostile purposes, or exotic and farmland animals, to live in installation housing.

Due to the aggressive behavior commonly seen in particular animal breeds and the increase in pet abandonment by military Families, Fort Huachuca officials issued a pet policy and are preparing to tighten enforcement.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Military Police work together to keep stray and unsafe animals out of the Fort Huachuca community. If a person should find an aggressive animal, contact the MPs at 533.3000.

Fort Huachuca officials released “Policy 061 – Installation Pet Policy,” on Sept. 28 which prohibits certain animals from being kept as pets on the installation. The breeds of animals that are prohibited are Pit Bulls (American Staffordshire Bull Terriers or English Staffordshire Bull Terriers), Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chows and wolf hybrids. These particular types of dogs are often bred for hostile purposes and are potentially dangerous to Soldiers and their Families.

Capt. Lauren Baldwin, Fort Huachuca Veterinary Treatment Facility, said, “They have a complex of being aggressive. For instance, pit bulls and wolf hybrids, are more common than golden retrievers to act aggressively. Part of the behavior is not genetic, but passed on, or let’s say, it’s bred into the breed.”

Other animals that are banned from the installation include exotic and farmland animals. An animal that is among the list of banned animals and is found on post is subject to confiscation and sent to Veterinary Services or other agencies to determine further action.

If a stray or dangerous animal is found, do not approach the animal but try to keep it in sight, and contact the Fort Huachuca Military Police, 533.3000, and they will contact the United States Department of Agriculture which will come out and obtain the animal.

“Any aggressive acts, for example, if [someone] goes up to a fence and it looks like the dog wants to attack them, even through the fence, that is definitely not a dog that you want to approach. Don’t go up to stray animals that you have never met before because you don’t know what kind of upbringing that animal has had,” Staff Sgt. David Watters, Fort Huachuca Veterinary Treatment Facility, explained.

Animal abandonment is a major issue on Fort Huachuca. As per Policy 061, if an animal has been turned in as a stray, the owners are responsible to pick it up within three working days. Failure to claim an animal that has been turned in is considered abandonment. Those who intentionally abandon their animals will be responsible for all costs until the animal is claimed. If not picked up in three days, the animal will be handled at the determination of the installation veterinarian and the Directorate of Emergency Services.

Watters further explains, “It seems that a lot of times, owners will get told that they are moving, say overseas, and then find out that they have to do a whole bunch of paperwork to get the dog overseas and then they decide that they are just going to leave the dog or cat. A lot of times, they will try to take them to shelters but it costs money to surrender them, and they don’t want to pay it so they just leave them or they just kick them out to the canyon.”

With the new policy, if an animal is abandoned, the owners will be put through an investigation and if found guilty, they will be cited. Policy violations are to be reported to the MPs. Soldiers or Families who violate the policy are subject to Uniformed Code of Military Justice punishment, revocation of pet owning privileges, and possibility of being banned from the installation.

Watters added, “Abandonment and neglect is a big issue here and if a next door neighbor feels as though there is an animal that is being neglected, don’t feel like you are being a whistle blower. They need to get help and it needs to get called in. You can call in anonymously, to the housing office or to the MPs, and just say ‘I think this dog is being neglected’ and the USDA will go out and investigate.”

To contact the Fort Huachuca Veterinary Treatment Facility, call 533.5945.




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