Ten German shepherds and Belgian Malinois heading to the Canine Center in El Paso, Texas died a week ago because of a mechanical failure of the air conditioning system in the vehicle the dogs were being transported.
The Kokomo Tribune stated the dogs originated from the Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind. and were headed to the training facility where they were destined to be future United States Customs and Border Protection canine officers.
Two other dogs were treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion. Five other dogs were healthy.
The owner of the facility, Ken Licklider, is devastated.
Fort Bliss Maj. Joe Bussino told the El Paso Times:
“This is pretty horrifying. I think everyone that heard this story is pretty upset by it. Those dogs were essentially in an oven. You don’t have to be an animal lover to be sick about this.”
Dogs in these programs are trained to detect dangerous drugs including marijuana, hashish, heroin, and cocaine. They may also be trained to examine aircraft, vessels, and baggage. Border Patrol canine officers are trained in search and rescue.
Most dogs are specifically bred for these programs, and live in foster homes from 12-weeks of age to one-year-old. They are then transferred to the training facilities where the dogs work for the next eight years. At that time the dogs are retired and offered to their trainers and become eligible for adoption.
Rest in peace young dogs. Your futures looked so promising.
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