Sinema Introduces Bipartisan Bill Ensuring Wellbeing, Accountability for Working Dog Programs

Aug 31, 2023

Senator’s legislation requires federal agencies to implement Government Accountability Office best practice recommendations for working dog programs

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the Working Dog Health and Welfare Act of 2023 alongside Republican Senator Mike Braun (Ind.) and Democratic Senator Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) to ensure the wellbeing of dogs in working dog programs by implementing best practice recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“Our commonsense legislation protects Arizona working dogs from inhumane treatment – ensuring they are strong and healthy enough to keep Arizonans safe and secure,” said Sinema.

In October 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.