Senate Passes Sinema Bill Ensuring Accountability for Working Dog Programs

Jan 17, 2024

Sinema’s bipartisan bill requires federal agencies to implement best practice recommendations for working dog programs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan Working Dog Health and Welfare Act – legislation she introduced alongside Republican Senator Mike Braun (Ind.).

Sinema’s bill, which is now one step closer to becoming law, ensures the wellbeing of dogs in working dog programs by implementing best practice recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“I’m proud that the Senate came together to pass our commonsense legislation protecting Arizona working dogs from inhumane treatment. We’re ensuring they are strong and healthy to keep Arizonans safe and secure,” said Sinema.

In 2022, GAO published a report on the health and welfare of working dogs within federal programs. The report found many agency shortcomings that affect working dogs’ wellbeing, including that nearly half of relevant agencies lack policies aimed at detecting abuse and neglect. Other shortcomings included agencies lacking policies that address emergency medical care, food and water, and euthanasia.

Sinema’s Working Dog Health and Welfare Act would require agencies to implement GAO’s recommendations for existing working dog programs. It would also require agencies to proactively implement GAO’s recommendations when standing up new working dog programs.

Over 5,000 working dogs serve in the federal government, some of which work at airports and land ports of entry in Arizona to detect dangerous drugs and explosives. Sinema’s bill will ensure these law enforcement programs can fulfill their mission to keep Arizona communities safe and secure.