Animal Rights NGO Decries IAF's ‘Systematic Abuse’ of Guard Dogs

Let the Animals Live is asking the court to fine the Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces NIS 1,000 a day for every dog held under crowded conditions.

The Israel Air Force is not providing enough shaded space for the hundreds of dogs guarding its bases and should be held in contempt of court for contravening a court order requiring it to do so, an animal rights group said yesterday in a request filed with the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court.

Let the Animals Live is asking the court to fine the Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces NIS 1,000 a day for every dog held under conditions that contravene the court order. It also wants the court to hold the Defense Ministry and IDF in contempt, along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and IAF chief Amir Eshel.

“This is one of those serious incidents in which we witness the systematic abuse of animals on the part of the state, which continues even after the court has ordered the state to stop doing so,” the animal rights group said in a statement.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said canopies would be installed in the coming weeks. They were supposed to be up by the end of February, in accordance with an extension granted by the court. But lawyers for the military said the canopies aren’t up yet because of manufacturing and supplier delays. The lawyers added that the IAF has already paid about NIS 500,000 for the canine canopies.

The IAF reportedly told Let the Animals Live a month ago that half its bases did not yet have the canopies. It apparently said at the time that they would be installed after Passover, but the animal rights group says the dogs are still languishing in the sun.

The group said it hopes the court will “impose substantial punishments on those responsible for harming the dogs, including prison sentences, that will make the air force obey the court order immediately and make it clear that the systematic abuse of animals on the part of the state must be denounced through and through.”

In July 2011 a court order was issued requiring the air force “to refrain from keeping dogs regularly tied to the fence of bases, without having at least three square meters of contiguous shaded space, not counting the doghouse.”

The order was initially supposed to take effect in November, but the court granted the air force an extension until the end of February and the IAF committed to adhering to the court order by then.

Let the Animals Live