A soldier recently posted photos of himself and at least five limp dogs on Facebook and has sparked outrage from animal lovers.
The soldier has since deleted the pictures, but some people managed to get screen grabs of them and have circulated them on the internet.
According to a report in The Dodo, Chris Smith, a Army veteran, posted the pictures on Facebook with captions that said, “Some of the assholes that would chase me around FOB Boris.” Smith tagged a few friends, like Josh Johnson, who replied to the post with, “Holy shit I remember that haha.”
A commenter that saw the picture asked for some clarification about the dogs and wrote, “… they’re just sleeping, right?” Josh Johnson replied to the post saying, “Yes they were very tired…” He then added, “They took a nap forever….”
When animal lovers noticed the post, they quickly started a petition calling on the Army to punish Smith for killing the dogs and bragging about it. They pushed for him to be discharged from the Army.
However, the animal advocates didn’t yet have all the facts. Even though the picture was posted on Facebook on August 19 of this year, the photo was snapped years ago at FOB Boris military base in Afghanistan.
Another piece of information the petition got wrong was that Chris Smith was no longer in the Army. According to Smith, he has been out of the Army for “a couple of years now,” so the Army can’t discipline him for the photos.
Chris Smith addressed the situation in an open letter he posted on his Facebook page. In the letter, he tried to explain that the picture was taken three years ago, and the dogs in the picture weren’t dead. They had been given sedatives and were about to be euthanized.
He also went on to explain that the dogs were feral, and soldiers were getting bitten and infected by the dogs in areas that the Army didn’t have resources to treat them. The situation was bad enough that the Army was flying veterinarians in to capture and euthanize dogs for the safety of the troops in Afghanistan.
When asked if they had any comments on the situation, the Army responded with a Facebook post that said Smith’s action was in poor taste, and not up to the standards that the Army holds their soldiers to. The Facebook message also went on to note that Chris Smith is not currently an active soldier in the U.S. Army.