SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

No. 120

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 3, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LATHAM TIVER

District 8 (Atlantic and Burlington)

Senator  KRISTIN M. CORRADO

District 40 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Designates month of March as “Military and Law Enforcement Working Dogs Month.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Joint Resolution designating the month of March as “Military and Law Enforcement Working Dogs Month.”

 

Whereas, Military and law enforcement working dogs play an important role in protecting our nation from both foreign and domestic threats; and

Whereas, Military working dogs were initially selected from seven breeds: German Shepherds, Belgian Sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Eskimo Dogs and underwent basic training for two to three months before moving into specialized programs to train for work as either sentry dogs, patrol dogs, messenger dogs, or mine-detection dogs; and

Whereas, Nearly 16,000 dogs have served in the armed forces since World War II and have played a critical role in saving lives and preventing battlefield injuries to American service members; and

Whereas, Dogs offer significant advantages to humans as they possess superior vision, a powerful sense of smell, and can subdue or intimidate the enemy with the use of non-lethal force; and

Whereas, Dogs also exhibit a number of personality traits that make them particularly suitable for military service such as intelligence, loyalty, dependability, and adaptability; and

Whereas, Law enforcement, recognizing the advantages dogs could provide in conducting their own operations, enlisted the help of working dogs beginning in the 1970s; and

Whereas, In their law enforcement role, working dogs perform similar tasks to their military counterparts by assisting in the apprehension of suspects; detection of drugs, explosives, or other evidence in a criminal investigation; and performance of search and rescue operations during bombings, natural disasters, or missing persons cases; and

Whereas, The task of becoming the handler for a working dog requires substantial training which focuses on obedience, aggression control, tracking, searching, detection of dangerous materials, and proper care of a dog’s overall well-being; and

Whereas, Working dogs and their handlers are hardworking and courageous individuals who willingly place their own lives at risk in order to ensure the safety and security of our citizens each and every day; and

Whereas, March 13th is “National K9 Veterans Day” which commemorates the service and sacrifice of all working dogs because on March 13, 1942, the United States Army began its War Dog Program, or the “K9 Corps,” to formally train dogs for military use; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

     1.    The month of March is designated as “Military and Law Enforcement Working Dogs Month” in the State of New Jersey to honor the service and sacrifice of military and law enforcement working dogs and their handlers.

 

     2.    The Governor is respectfully requested to issue an annual proclamation calling upon public officials and citizens of this State to observe “Military and Law Enforcement Working Dogs Month” with appropriate activities and programs.

 

     3.    This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution designates the month of March as “Military and Law Enforcement Working Dogs Month” to honor the service and sacrifice of military and law enforcement working dogs and their handlers.  The resolution also respectfully requests that the Governor issue an annual proclamation calling upon public officials and citizens of this State to engage in appropriate activities and programs throughout the month of March.

     Military and law enforcement working dogs continue to play an important role in protecting our nation from both foreign and domestic threats. Although dogs had been used by the military for quite some time, the month of March marks the first time a formal dog-training program was established by the United States Army.  March 13th is known as “National K9 Veterans Day” because on March 13, 1942, the United States Army announced creation of the War Dog Program or the “K-9 Corps.”  Dogs from a number of acceptable breeds including German Shepherds, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Eskimo Dogs underwent basic obedience training before entering one of four specialized programs focusing on either sentry work, scouting, messaging, or mine detection.  Since then, over 16,000 dogs have served in armed conflicts overseas and have played a critical role saving lives and preventing battlefield injuries to American service members.

     The Army’s decision to train dogs for military purposes was done after organizations like the American Kennel Club formed “Dogs for Defense,” a civilian organization whose mission was to train dogs to perform sentry duties along the coastal United States.  After becoming aware of this program and recognizing the strategic advantages dogs could provide, Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson approved formation of the K-9 Corps.  Dogs possess a number of character traits, such as intelligence, loyalty, dependability, and adaptability, which make them particularly suited for military use.  In addition, dogs have strong vision, a powerful sense of smell, and can subdue enemy combatants with the use of non-lethal force.

     After the successful launch of the K-9 Corps, local law enforcement began using working dogs to help in their own operations beginning in the 1970s.  These dogs were used to assist in the apprehension of suspects; detection of drugs, explosives, or other evidence in a criminal investigation; and performance of search and rescue operations during bombings, natural disasters, or missing persons cases.

     Not every dog is suitable for a role with military or law enforcement.  Those selected to participate in a training program join an elite group of dogs that have exhibited proper temperament and decision making abilities.  Today, German Shepherds are considered the most suitable for training programs because they consistently display the proper combination of intelligence, dependability, predictability, and adaptability.

     Unleashing the potential of a working dog to carry out military and law enforcement objectives would not be possible without their handlers.  Similar to the animals they work with, handlers go through a rigorous training program integrating classroom instruction, first aid, and real world simulations.  This curriculum leaves them able to understand how a canine learns new behaviors, how to care for a dog, and how to operate with a dog in different environments.

     The State of New Jersey is proud to recognize the contributions of this extraordinary group of military and law enforcement personnel by dedicating a month in their honor.