Until 2000, it was legal and common practice to euthanize military working dogs, known as MWDs, at the end of their useful service. Historically viewed as “surplus equipment,” they weren’t seen as having value beyond the military purpose for which they were trained. But in 2000, Congress enacted “Robby’s Law" which began an adoption program for military dogs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where almost all military dogs are trained. But as late as 2019, Texas law enforcement dogs and horses were considered surplus property and a county could only “auction, donate or destroy” the property when it stopped being useful. Before the legislative session, the law made it difficult to retire a dog when their handler left or retired, and the animals were required to be sold to comply with state law. THLN supported legislation (unanimously approved by the House and Senate) creating the proposed amendment asking voters to authorize the adoption of retired law enforcement dogs and horses by their handler when they leave or retire.
In 2019, the voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition 10, a constitutional amendment, and now handlers can adopt retired law enforcement animals. Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington carried SJR 32 in the House and Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, carried SB 2100 in the Senate.