Linda Lingle (Photo by Dave Livingston)
Linda Lingle announces candidacy for U.S. Senate (Photo by Dave Livingston)

REPORT FROM LINDA LINGLE’S US SENATE CAMPAIGN – They sniff out bombs, patrol dangerous explosive zones, and put themselves in harm’s way to protect our soldiers. Yet military working dogs are currently classified as “equipment” by the Pentagon and are sometimes left behind and forgotten.

Former Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat, today announced her support for a bipartisan effort in Congress to recognize the important role military working dogs play today and to give them the respect and treatment they have earned.

Governor Lingle is pledging her support for S. 2134, introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and H.R. 4103, introduced by Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, to reclassify military working dogs from “equipment” to “canine members of the Armed Forces.” These pending bills would allow the use of frequent flyer miles to facilitate the adoption of a military working dog and would set up a non-profit organization to provide medical care for retired military animals. Additionally, the Congressional proposals would establish a recognition system for military working dogs killed in the line of duty and meritorious service awards for exceptional bravery on the part of a military dog.

“All of us who are animal lovers understand the importance of animals to our personal and family well-being. The life-saving role these canines play for our men and women in uniform is above and beyond the service of a pet. I am pleased to lend my support for these bills and if I am given the honor of becoming your next Senator I will work to get them passed,” Governor Linda Lingle stated. “Recognizing the bravery and heroism of our four-legged members of the Armed Services is long over-due and demonstrates our humanity and respect for their abilities, sometimes in the midst of horrific situations.”

“I cannot thank Governor Lingle enough for lending her prestige and support to this Congressional initiative,” said Lisa Phillips, a former military veterinarian technician who spearheads national efforts to take care of military working dogs. “Governor Lingle’s support will help us in our work with the Department of Defense and officials across the nation to ensure these incredible animals are not abandoned in a war zone.”

“I am proud that Governor Linda Lingle has proclaimed her support for these bills,” stated Danya Schiappa, a member of Pet Lovers for Linda Lingle, a broad coalition of people who support candidates who put people and pets first. “It is Linda Lingle’s type of leadership on a wide variety of issues that inspired me to join her coalition for pet lovers,” Ms. Schiappa added.

Currently S. 2134, Canine Members of the Arms Services Act, introduced by Senator Blumenthal on February 27, 2012 is pending referral to a Senate Committee. The companion measure, H. R. 4103, introduced by Rep. Jones was referred to the House Committee on the Armed Services on February 28, 2012. Both bills rely on donations and contributions to pay for the medical care for military working dogs and do not include the use of taxpayer funds to carry out their purposes.

For more information on Pet Lovers for Lingle, visit the coalition on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PetLoversForLingle.

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