DoD advises: Don't bring Fido the unit mascot back from overseas

HEIDELBERG, Germany - For those who experience duty in a far-away, war-torn land, don't make plans for show and tell when you return.

The Department of Defense has announced a reminder of policy that forbids - with rare exception - the importation of war souvenirs and trophies, and animals such as unit mascots.

The policy prohibits the importation of personal war souvenirs or trophies without an official authorization by the president of the United States, or his designee. Also, importation of unit war trophies or historically significant trophies or equipment is prohibited without approval from the Secretary of Defense and the appropriate service secretary.

Recently, numerous attempts were made to transport non-vaccinated mascot dogs to the United States on DoD aircraft. Usually, only military working dogs may travel on DoD aircraft. Pets may also be shipped aboard military aircraft, but only when a servicemember is traveling on permanent change of station orders, and when the animal is properly vaccinated. Requests for waiver from this policy must be submitted through the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense for his approval. Also, the U.S. Center for Disease Control mandates that dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States. Dogs less than three months old must be confined until three months old and then vaccinated. Once vaccinated, the animal must be confined for an additional 30 days.

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