Police dogs sometimes need to find new homes after their working careers have ended. While many police dogs are adopted out to officers who worked with them during their law enforcement careers, those who are not adopted within the police community may be offered to the public for adoption.
Adopting a Police Dog
A limited number of official police dogs are offered up for public adoption every year. If you are interested in adopting a police dog from within your local community, you will need to contact your police department and inquire how they handle the adoption of dogs who can no longer be used in official duty. Some police departments may work with their local animal shelters or rescue organizations to adopt these dogs. In this case, you will need to contact the specific organization to find out the rules and requirements regarding the adoption of retired police canines.
Adopting a Military Service Dog
Retired military service dogs are adopted through the Military Working Dog Adoption Program at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The adoption process typically takes between 12 and 18 months. Your adoption application will have to be approved. When an adoptable dog becomes available, you will have to be ready to accept the dog and transport it from Lackland to your home. Military dogs are free for adoption but you are required to pay all transportation fees associated with adopting and bringing home your new pet.
Requirements and Considerations
There is no one set of rules or requirements for adopting a police dog because police dogs can be adopted through many different organizations. It is not uncommon to be asked to provide veterinary references and allow your home to be inspected prior to adoption. In some cases, potential adopters may be rejected based on having young children, cats, other pets or because the home does not have a secure enough fence. Your homeowners insurance may be affected based on the breed of dog you adopt, as some breeds are considered more dangerous than others.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Police dogs who are offered up for adoption tend to be either young animals who were not able to complete training successfully or older dogs who have developed health problems that prevent them from continuing to work. In the case of an older dog, your new pet may come with significant ongoing health problems that require long term, and potentially costly, medical care.
Remember that these dogs have had extensive training, some of which may make the dog behave oddly with a home environment. For example, the dog may seem standoffish at first because it has been taught to work rather than interact happily with people. You also may have to teach your new dog how to play.
- Sav-A-Vet: Rescue Our K9 Comrades
- Military Working Dog Adoption Program: Adoption Program
- Sav-A-Vet: Adopt A Retired MWD
- Texas Alliance for Homeless Pets:Adoption FAQs: Should You Adopt A Retired Service Dog?
- The Law Enforcement Times: How to Adopt Retired Police Dogs
- Retired Paws
- Department of Defense Military Working Dog Adoption Program: Frequently Asked Questions
- Vets Adopt Pets: Military Working Dog Adoptions
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.