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Army installations have pet regulations for safety, health, accountability

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By CAPT. ERIN STEIN

The love between a family and their pet is a powerful thing. Since I am in the medical field, an unspoken, professional agreement has required me to give it a long, fancy name. It is called the Human Animal Bond and while we can professionally define and describe it, we cannot actually say why it occurs. As individuals who are deeply rooted in not putting down roots, military members and their Families often form some of the strongest bonds. These pets provide a sense of consistency and enthusiastically face the adventure of military life by our sides.

I was recently asked to discuss pet regulations on military installations. Many individuals seem to be unaware that the military takes such an interest in pets. After all, why does a garrison commander or the brigadier general of the Veterinary Corps need to know that Mrs. X has a Bichon that is not up to date on vaccinations. Is the Army anti-Bichon? As implied above, the military is well aware of the Human Animal Bond.

The military has instituted multiple regulations and tasked garrison commanders with making installation-specific regulations ultimately in order to keep Soldiers, human and animal, and their Families safe. Each garrison commander makes their installation-specific regulations with the direct input and advice from the installation Veterinary Corps officer. The VCO uses the information about the post, such as what wildlife diseases or parasites are common in the area, to make educated decisions and recommendations to the garrison commander.

What are Redstone Arsenal’s specific regulations? Redstone Regulation 40-1 has all of the regulations listed in detail and I am available to answer any questions on it. The following are simply a summary of the most important regulations.

Additionally, privatized housing will often have regulations that are even stricter than that of the installation. All individuals who live in housing are required to abide by their regulations. All individuals who bring their pets (equine, canine, feline) on Redstone Arsenal are required to know and abide by Garrison regulations.

n All dogs and cats that live on Redstone Arsenal are required to be registered at the Redstone Veterinary Treatment Facility. Veterinary services at the VTF are only available for military members and their dependents, non-military members who live on Redstone Arsenal are still required to register their pets.

While registering your pet at a veterinary clinic that you may or may not use may seem like a hassle, the purpose is to keep you and your pet safe. If you and your pet become separated such as in the aftermath of severe weather, we can work to reunite you and your pet since we would have the microchip information on file. Also, this allows the Garrison to know how many pets are on post so that they can make decisions if emergency housing should be needed.

n All animals must have current vaccinations: rabies and distemper (highly recommended).

Rabies vaccination and rabies registration are federal and state requirements. Additionally, wild animals carry rabies. Rabies is a deadly disease that affects both animals and humans.

n The distemper vaccine is a combination vaccination. Canine distemper is carried in the wildlife population and unvaccinated pets are at significant risk.

n All dogs and cats must be microchipped within 30 days of acquisition.

n All dogs should always be leashed and all cats are to be in carriers whenever they are not directly restrained in a yard or house.

Leash laws are for your pets’ safety. While you might have the best behaved, always obedient dog or cat, unfortunately you cannot guarantee how well behaved other dogs in the area are.

These laws are vital because at no point can or should a pet dog or cat interfere with a Military Working Dog.

n Pets are not allowed to be abandoned at any point.

Pets do not understand why they are left behind. All they see is one minute they had a safe, secure home and the next, they are outside, in a strange, scary world.

n Finally, pet regulations are not meant to restrict people who live or work on military installations. The ultimate goal is to keep all individuals, human and animal, safe. Owners are solely responsible for their pets at all times.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Fort Knox Veterinary Treatment Facility has a similar role on Fort Knox and offers similar services. For pet restrictions and further regulation, contact Knox Hills, concerning its pet policy in housing areas, at (502) 799-6550.

For more information about the VTF and its
services and post regulation, call (502) 624-3271/
5819. n