9 Investigates

9 investigates soldiers' claims Army broke promises to adopt their military dogs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Soldiers who fought for America in Iraq and Afghanistan said military dogs have saved their lives by sniffing out bombs buried underground.

One soldier told Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos the Army didn't keep a promise that he could adopt his dog.

Specialist Brad Perry showed Latos video of the first day he met his Army partner, Bodi.

Bodi was what's known as a TEDD, or Tactical Explosive Detection Dog. The two spent almost 11 months in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, where Bodi sniffed out IEDs.

"He saved a lot of our lives," Perry said.

Click video below to hear Perry reflect on time he had with Bodi:

Perry said when he volunteered to become a TEDD handler, the Army promised him a chance to adopt Bodi after the dog's service, but when they returned to the United States, Perry never saw the dog again.

"Every day, I think about him, and I wonder if he even is still alive," he said.

Perry claimed the Army won't answer his questions of where Bodi is or who adopted him.

Many TEDD handlers, share Perry's complaint. There is now a Facebook group called "Justice for TEDD handlers" trying to find the military dogs.

Several soldiers turned to U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R), who told Latos, he's angry.

"We didn't keep our promise to them, and not only that, we mistreated them," said Hudson.

Hudson launched an investigation into the mismanaged adoptions and how some dogs ended up with civilian families instead of the handlers.

Latos learned the U.S. Department of Defense inspector general is in the midst of a probe into the program too.

Officials recently visited K2 Solutions, a training facility in Southern Pines.

K2 Solutions was a military subcontractor, training many of the dogs to sniff out explosives and then signal to soldiers when they find a bomb.

The CEO, Lane Kjellsen, told Latos while his business trained and housed dogs, the Army owned them and had total control over the adoption process.

"The adoptions were frustrating for our employees and for all of us," Kjellsen said.

Kjellsen outlined the program's legal and administrative problems he saw to Hudson and the inspector general, but he's worried the adoption controversy could cause the military to avoid training explosive detection dogs in the future.

"I'm very concerned about this affecting the safety of our men and women that serve us," he said.

The Department of Defense must now contact handlers and offer the opportunity to adopt their military working dog. Hudson helped pass that law but said he still wants answers.

"Either there was gross negligence that happened, or there were real bad actors who need to be made famous," he said.  "This isn't going to be a happy ending for everyone, but I think everyone deserves to know the truth of what happened."

Click video below to hear Perry talk about military dog that disappeared:

Perry wants the truth, too though he knows it may not mean he ever sees Bodi again.

"I wanted to be there for my dog the way he was for me, but I couldn't," said Perry.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Defense is still in the middle of its investigation into the military dog adoptions.

It is trying to find out if the people in charge broke any rules, contracts or laws.