In July we were contacted by a woman who wanted to talk with the handler of MWD Geri R610. We put her in touch with Geri’s TEDD handler Tyler. He was told that Geri had been adopted by someone this woman knew. Geri had escaped from his owner’s yard sometime in 2014 and ended up in a fight with another person’s dog – that person ended up shooting Geri. This source had seen the post searching for Geri, and she wanted to let Geri’s handler know the truth.
As our supporters can imagine, Tyler was devastated. While we appreciate all sources who come forward to give information about these military working dogs, situations like these cause us to be skeptical. The death of MWD Geri R610 is a prime example of the inadequate vetting of adopters. Anyone who wanted a dog could take one. ANYONE.
We submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for Geri’s adoption records, and found that the person who adopted him had worked at K2 with Geri and planned on keeping him in a 6 foot fenced backyard during the day and when gone. He would be kept in the house at night. For an aggressive dog like Geri, this doesn’t seem like the best plan. Geri’s handler Tyler told us that he wouldn’t have left him alone in a yard with only a chain length fence. He would have added at least a 3 foot concrete footer on the outside around the fence along with a electric fence and better locking mechanisms on the gate to keep him in and unwanted people out. Geri was very smart – getting out of a normal person’s yard would have not been a issue for him. In addition to Geri’s aggression, the adopter did not understand nor was trained to handle or accommodate him.
Geri’s FOIA also included the first page of the application form, which stated the TEDD handlers were to receive First Right of Refusal for adoption of their working TEDD. Tyler did not receive notification of the opportunity to adopt. This is wrong.
In light of Geri’s alleged death, we have asked the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to require a proof of death for any claim of a deceased TEDD military working dog who was adopted by a non-TEDD handler.
While Geri’s death apparently occurred in 2014, our thoughts and prayers are with Tyler and all who loved Geri. MWD Geri saved many lives in Afghanistan, and he deserved to live out his retirement years by his handler Tyler’s side.