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H.R. 4103 (112th): Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 28, 2012.

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act - Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to classify military working dogs as canine members of the Armed Forces. Requires that such dogs no longer be classified as equipment.

Provides that if a dog should be retired, and no suitable adoption is available at the military facility where the dog is located, the dog may transferred to the 341st Training Squadron or to another location for adoption. Authorizes the acceptance of the donation of frequent traveler miles to facilitate the adoption of a dog.

Directs the Secretary to establish and maintain a system to provide for the lifetime veterinary care of retired, adopted dogs. Requires the Secretary to administer the system under a contract awarded by the Secretary to a private non-profit entity. Requires such care to meet standards that the Secretary shall establish and periodically update. Requires any costs of the operation and administration of the system and of any veterinary care provided under the system to be covered by such combination of the following as the Secretary and the non-profit entity jointly consider appropriate: (1) contributions from the non-profit entity, (2) payments for such care by owners or guardians of such dogs, and (3) other appropriate non-federal sources of funds. Prohibits the use of federal funds to provide care or operate the system, except for funds used to establish or administer the system, establish standards of care, or prescribe related regulations.

Directs the Secretary to create a decoration or other appropriate recognition to recognize dogs that are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to the United States.