Marines plan to deploy more bomb dogs

Sept. 30, 2010 at 11:51 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marines are looking for a few good dogs, several hundred of them in fact, to help search for bombs in Afghanistan.

Doug Miller, who heads the Defense Department's "working dog" program, told USA Today increasing the number of Labrador retrievers in Afghanistan will give dogs already there some much needed relief. He said some of the Labs have had multiple tours of duty.

After months in the field, the Labs are "thinner, just like Marines," Miller said.

The Pentagon announced this week a Virginia company has been awarded a contract worth as much as $34 million for dogs. Miller said handlers will probably find 100 dogs prepared to become bomb sniffers out of 400 supplied.

The dogs go through four months of training to become certified as bomb sniffers, followed by a few weeks of additional training with a Marine unit.

A few dogs have died in the line of duty. There have also been what Miller called "a few cases of canine PTSD," dogs that become so traumatized they can no longer function and are sent home to become household pets.

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