WASHINGTON — The Working Dog Health and Welfare Act – introduced by Senator Mike Braun and Senator Kyrsten Sinema – has passed the U.S. Senate. The bill will support the safe and humane treatment of federal working dogs.

This bill is the first bill to pass the U.S. Senate in 2024.

“Working dogs” are used for the detection of explosives, narcotics, and missing persons, as well as serving in patrol and navigation capacities.

This legislation includes programs that detect abuse and neglect of these animals, as well as ensuring emergency medical care, exercise, food and water, rest and off-duty time, and medical needs after retirement.     

“Federal working dogs, who work diligently alongside their human companions, risk their lives daily to ensure the safety of Americans. As both a leader in the Senate for animal welfare and a dog owner, I am proud that this bipartisan legislation to ensure these animals are protected has passed the Senate.” — Senator Braun  

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

“Senate passage of the Working Dog Health and Welfare Act is a strong step towards improving the health and welfare of animals. Working dogs within our government agencies operate alongside human partners to perform invaluable services—including helping to sniff out threats, sense dangerous substances, and rescue those in peril. We rely on these amazing animals for help, and it is past time we treat them with the respect they deserve. I applaud the action in the Senate and look forward to the legislation’s continued forward momentum.” — American Humane, President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert

“Animal welfare issues often bridge political divides. The bipartisan Working Dog Health and Safety Act prioritizes the welfare and safety of working dogs across the federal government. This bill will help our canine friends receive the best care when they are in the line of duty.” – Sara Amundson, President, Humane Society Legislative Fund

“We applaud Senator Braun for his outstanding leadership on this widely-supported bill to protect dogs purchased with taxpayer dollars. We’ve previously recognized Senator Braun for his exceptional work to defend dogs from abuse and he continues to lead the way as a champion for animals and taxpayers.” – White Coat Waste Project Senior Vice President Justin Goodman

The American Kennel Club lauds passage of the Working Dog Health and Welfare Act. This measure, championed by Senator Braun, will ensure implementation of important recommendations for protections and standards of care for U.S. Government working dogs [as outlined in the January 2022 Government Accountability Office report, “Working Dogs: Federal Agencies Need to Better Address Health and Welfare”. ] Government working dogs do extraordinary work every day in protecting Americans at home and abroad. These dogs deserve our efforts to provide them quality care and the protections too.” – Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President, Government Relations & Member, AKC Detection Dog Task Force


·         There are nearly 5,500 working dogs served in the federal government within 64 programs at eight departments and three independent agencies. Officials from these programs identified that the most common job for federal working dogs is the detection of explosives, narcotics, and missing persons. Federal working dogs also serve in patrol, navigation, and other specialty capacities.

·         In October 2022, the Government Accountability office cited 18 issues pertaining to the treatment of federal working dogs including lack of programs that detect abuse and the mistreatment of these animals in a report entitled “Working Dogs: Federal Agencies Need to Better Address Health and Welfare.” In addition, there is a lack of regulation pertaining to emergency medical care, exercise, food and water, rest and off-duty time which are critical to the well-being of federal working dogs.

·         The Working Dog Health and Welfare Act would ensure that federal agencies implement GAO’s working dog recommendations for existing working dog programs within 180 days of enactment. It would also require new working dog programs to proactively implement GAO’s recommendations. Finally, the bill requires agencies to submit a report to Congress on the steps taken to implement GAO’s recommendations.