I recently received a press release from USAFacts.org, a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization. They collect data from 90,000 government agencies (federal and some state/county data) on a wide variety of issues, including working dogs.
Government Working Dog Stats
Did you know that as of February 2022, government programs employ approximately 5,600 dogs? They conduct detection work, disease surveillance, wildlife management, and various SAR programs for both living and deceased people.
- Most government-employed dogs work for the Department of Homeland Security (2,943), followed by the Department of Defense (1,808), the Department of State (204), and the Department of Agriculture (148).
- Twenty-six government programs use federally-managed working dogs to identify explosives, radiological materials, and nuclear weapons.
- The GAO identified 18 issues important to the health and welfare of working dogs working. Risks include inadequate housing, limited access to medical care
- Dogs that wash out of certain training programs (like TSA training or DOD programs), or retired working canines may be eligible for adoption.
Health & Welfare of Working Dogs
Because of past concerns with government working dog programs, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) compiled a 93-page study that led to oversight for the health and well-being of working canines.
For additional insight, check out the USAFacts article based on these findings covering dogs with jobs.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!