“The dogs were not being used for their intended purpose,” says a report.
Rabat – The US Department of State has taken back 10 “antiterrorism assistance” dogs from Morocco, announced the US Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
“In August 2019, 10 [Department of State Antiterrorism Assistance] canines were repossessed from Morocco because the dogs were not being used for their intended purpose,” says a report declassified this month.
Morocco has received a number of dogs trained to find explosives under the US Department of State’s antiterrorism assistance program.
The document did not give further specifics on the reasons behind the repossession. However, it gave examples of trained dogs dying of maltreatment in other countries benefiting from the program, such as Jordan and Egypt.
OIG published the report, titled “Management Assistance Report: Continued Health and Welfare Concerns for Antiterrorism Assistance Explosive Detection Canines,” in December 2019 after the Department of State declassified it.
The report evaluated the health and welfare of trained US canines in their host countries.
Antiterrorism assistance dogs are part of the cooperation between Morocco and the US in security and counterterrorism.
On December 5, the head of the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) in Morocco, Abdellatif Hammouchi, received US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Several top security officials from both the US and Morocco attended the meeting.
The US State Department has commended Morocco’s leadership in security in annual reports throughout the years.
In its latest Country Report on Terrorism, the Department of State reiterated that Morocco has a comprehensive approach to combating terrorism.
However, while Morocco is known for its top-notch security and intelligence services, some animal rights activists deplore the state of animal welfare.
In recent weeks, disturbing videos surfaced online, showing starving stray dogs at an Agadir dog pound forced to eat each other. The dogs appeared malnourished and distressed in the videos.
Earlier in December, local authorities in Dar Bouazza, near Casablanca, slaughtered around 80 stray dogs. Shocking footage documenting the slaughter went viral on social media, prompting animal welfare activists to question the government’s promises of using sterilization instead of slaughter to decrease Morocco’s stray dog population.