Marine Corps Dog Adoptions

Are hundreds of decommissioned bomb-sniffing Marine Corps dogs in need of adoption by the public?

Claim:   Hundreds of decommissioned bomb-sniffing Marine Corps dogs are in need of adoption by the public.


Example:   [Collected via Facebook, 2012]

Marine Corps Decommissioned IED Detector Dogs

The Marine Corps has around 400 IED (Improvised Explosive Device) sniffing dogs that are being decommissioned & need forever homes/families. Most of the dogs are breeds such as: Labradors, Belgian Malinois, Border Collies, German Shepherds & Rottweiler. The dogs are all incredibly well-trained. Many have served in war zones and are responsible for saving countless American, NATO and foreign lives. The dogs are in the District of Columbia (D.C.). Adoptive families must be able to travel to DC to pick up the dogs or arrange transport at their own expense. Please help these war heroes get the lives they deserve.

The POC for interested adoptive families is:

Brian D. Miller
PM IED Detector Dog Program Marine Corps Systems Command
910-652-3645 Ext-321


Origins:   An October 2012 message circulated on the Internet sought adoptive homes for some 400 bomb-sniffing U.S. Marine Corps dogs of various breeds that had “served in war zones” but were now “being decommissioned” and were in “need of forever homes/families.” However, as USA Today reported, that message was a hoax:

There are currently no bomb detection dogs available for adoption, the Marine Corps Systems Command said in a statement.

An e-mail whose origin is not clear and that appeared to circulate widely said the Corps was looking for good homes for “incredibly well-trained” Labradors, Belgian Malinois, border collies, German shepherds and Rottweilers that served in war zones.

The contact information provided in the e-mail was that of an actual Marine office and staffer, but when contacted the office said the e-mail was a hoax and no such offer was available.

The Marine Corps Systems Command said it was not known who received the e-mail or who sent it out.

The Marines said such offers are sometimes made for “decommissioned” dogs but that they are offered to other federal agencies first since many are still fit for service even when they can no longer deploy to war zones.

In June 2014, however, the Marine Corps Times reported that the Marine Corps’ requirement for keeping IED (improvised explosive device) detection dogs, or IDDs, was winding down, and that that branch of the service would be looking to find homes for those animals down the line, through adoption by other federal agencies, law enforcement, troops, or possibly private individuals:

Officials with the Marine Corps military working dog (MWD) program are looking to find homes for all the service’s improvised explosive device-sniffing dogs as the Corps’ requirement for these highly trained animals draws to a close.

By the first quarter of 2015, all of the remaining IDDs will be gone, said Bill Childress, head of the Marines’ MWD program.

As combat operations draw to a close in Afghanistan, Childress said, the requirement for the IDDs has evaporated.

Childress said he is advertising with law enforcement agencies to try to find new work for the remaining IDDs. So far, he said, 200 of the dogs have found new work at the joint Defense Department military working dog training facility at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, while another 150 or 200 have been adopted by regional police departments and law enforcement agencies.

Private individuals can also apply to adopt a dog, though officials with the MWD program often make judgment calls on whether a household is right for, say, a Belgian malinois trained in aggression tactics. Childress said the troops who work with the dogs get the first opportunity to take them home for good.

Last updated:   7 June 2014


    Seck, Hope Hodge.   “Marine Corps to Close Its IED Detection Dogs Specialty.”

    Marine Corps Times.   3 June 2014.

    USA Today.   “E-mail on Adopting Marine Dogs Is a Hoax.”

    17 October 2012.