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Lawsuit: Shippers caused death of 14 bomb-sniffing dogs
By msnbc.com staff
A dog training company that provides canines to the military to detect hidden bombs claims that 14 of its animals died in a sealed truck container at a shipping facility in Houston because of negligence by shippers, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The dogs were awaiting air shipment from Houston to U.S., Canadian and NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2010, the Chronicle said.
The owners, Florida-based American K-9 Detection Services, leases dogs and handlers to the military, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement and other groups for a variety of functions had a contract to provide the dogs for checkpoint security, vehicle sweeps, and roving patrols, according to the publication Courthouse News Service.
These dogs -- German shepherds and Belgian Malinois -- were due to be shipped by air to Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2010 after arriving at the Houston facility a day earlier, said the Chronicle.
But agents for the owners reportedly found the animals dead inside an unventilated box truck on Dec. 21, according to the lawsuit against Indian Creek Enterprises Inc. and Live Animal Transportation Services -- companies that were charged with handling and transporting the animals.
The agents found the dogs dead and found blood on the truck floor and in some crates and damage that suggested two animals had tried to escape the containers, according to the lawsuit filed in the 281st state District Court in Harris County, Tex.
American K-9 started training the animals in late 2010 under a contract with the U.S. government. The dogs – Tiny, Rex, Rocky, Crock, Dork, Harrie, Stress, Sigo, Jago, Kimbo, Rex, Kilo, Albert and Bak – were certified to be in good health by a veterinarian on Dec. 20, the Chronicle reported.
American K-9 is seeking $1.3 million in damages and $30,000 in legal fees after failing to settle the matter out of court, the report said.