Photos posted to social media over the weekend appeared to show dogs in cages at the Kabul airport, and the nonprofit organization Veteran Sheepdogs of America told TMZ on Monday it was continuing to help evacuate dozens of contracted military working dogs from the country.
“To correct erroneous reports, the U.S. Military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs,” DOD spokesman John Kirby said in a Tuesday statement. “Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care.”
Joshua Holser, founder of Veteran Sheepdogs of America, said he hoped to rescue the working dogs by raising $1.67 million – the cost for a 737 plane out of Kabul, the TMZ reported.
The nonprofit said in an early Tuesday tweet that “51 contracted military working dogs are safe & being cared for in their crates.”
“There’s false information that we are a ‘scam’ that is the FARTHEST from the truth!” the organization tweeted early Monday. “We have 51 working dogs with our people that we were given the responsibility to get them out of Kabul. This IS happening!”
Meanwhile, American Humane — an organization committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of animals — said Monday it was standing by to help transport contract K-9 soldiers to U.S. soil and provide for their lifetime medical care.
“It sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” said Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, in a statement. “In order to prevent this tragedy from occurring, these K-9s should be loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety.”
The Pentagon denied reports that any U.S. military K-9s or handlers were left behind in Afghanistan.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that all U.S. troops have departed Afghanistan. The final C-17 carrying service members lifted off from the airport at 3:29 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. The removal of U.S. troops met the Aug. 31 deadline the Biden administration agreed to with the Taliban — officially ending America’s longest war.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.