War Hero Sgt. Stubby Couldn’t Live in US Army Housing Today

The most decorated war dog in U.S. history – and the only one to be promoted to sergeant – was a hero named Stubby. Yet a breed ban would keep a dog like Stubby out of U.S. Army housing today.

John Robert Conroy, a soldier training for World War I combat, rescued Sgt. Stubby in 1917 when he saw the stray dog wandering on a Yale University field. When Conroy’s unit was sent to France, he wrapped Stubby up in an overcoat and smuggled him aboard the ship.

Stubby became the “unofficial official mascot” of the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division. After he was hit in the leg by a grenade and needed to recuperate, he kept other injured soldiers company, his sunny presence lifting their spirits.

When Stubby’s leg injury healed and he returned to the trenches, he was sprayed with mustard gas. Stubby was able to use what he learned from this terrible experience – and his amazing sense of smell — to warn the soldiers of impending gas attacks, saving many of their lives.

Stubby was also able to hear the whine of artillery shells before the soldiers could, so he would bark to let them know they should take cover. And because Stubby was a dog, he could easily scoot under the barbed wire in “no man’s land” to save wounded soldiers.

Stubby was in 17 battles on the Western Front. He captured a German spy by the seat of his pants, and legend has it that he even saved a little girl from getting hit by a car in Paris.

When the war ended, “Sgt. Stubby” was treated like a rock star back in the United States, meeting presidents and leading parades. In 1926, Stubby died peacefully in Conroy’s arms. His New York Times obituary was half a page long.

You can watch the amazing story of this hero dog in the new computer-animated movie Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.

According to the movie’s official website, it’s about how America’s most decorated war dog “is given a home, a family, and the chance to embark on the adventure that would define a century.”

Privatization of Military Housing Leads to Unfair Breed Bans

Yet today this war hero wouldn’t be given a home in any U.S. Army (or Marines or Air Force) military housing. That’s because Stubby could be considered to be a pit bull mix, one of several breeds banned since 2009, because they’re considered dangerous.

That’s right, just because they happen to be a certain breed, American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, bull mastiffs, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Doberman pinschers, dogos Argentinos, dogues de Bordeaux, chow chows, and mixes of any of these dogs can’t live in military housing on U.S. bases.

Breed bans and breed-specific legislation (BSL) are unfair because they single out certain types of dogs. They have not proven to make communities safer where they’ve been enacted. For these reasons, they’re opposed by most major animal welfare organizations, who support breed-neutral ordinances addressing a common cause of dog problems: irresponsible owners.

The breed ban wasn’t enacted by the U.S. Army (or Marines Corps or Air Force). After military housing was privatized in 1996, the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) Privatization Program consortium, consisting of six private companies, was created to develop consistent housing policies. Unfortunately, a breed ban was one of those policies.

Members of the military who are serving our country shouldn’t be faced with the additional stress of having to either give up their beloved family pets or find off-base housing. As more and more people are becoming aware of the ineffectiveness of BSL and breed bans, they’re being dropped across the country. It’s time for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force to do the same.

As Sgt. Stubby proved, hero dogs come in all shapes, sizes — and breeds. Please sign and share this petition urging the Residential Communities Initiative to drop its unfair military housing breed ban.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

116 comments

Sue H
Sue H12 days ago

Thanks for sharing. Petition signed 4.7.18. Was it delivered??

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Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you.

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Ruth Rakotomanga
Ruth R5 months ago

What's the matter with Rhodesian ridgebacks? Lovely dogs.

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H6 months ago

I read the book on Stubby. It was interesting and amazing what he did for the military. I am wondering if putting it into animation (after watching the trailer) will detract from the seriousness and achievements. Christine has a valid point - all dogs should be judged on conduct not breed.

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joan silaco
joan silaco7 months ago

Just saw the movie!

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Jean Dahlquist
Jean Dahlquist8 months ago

Good article, I would not have known!

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Carl R
Carl R8 months ago

Thanks!

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

@ CLARE O : YOU ARE SO DAMNED WRONG. How do you explain that my daughter had one, a male, at the same time with 2 toddlers as from their birth. The only thing her pitbull did was to protect the little girls when strangers came too close. How he did that ? Just by sitting next to the children and slightly growl to the people. If he could speak, he would simply have said : pay attention, these are mine and I take care of them !!!!!

@ Leanne K : sorry, but you do injustice to this soldier. Most certainly this was a stray dog, which he took in protection. Should he have left him behind, and die from starvation of by German bombing ?? ?? ??

Never forget that in earlier days dogs have in so many situations been assisting and helping people. Before there were cars, the bakers, milkmen etc.. had their little cars towed by 1 or 2 shepherd dogs to deliver their goods at home. Shepherd dogs, dogs utilized by Customs Authorities, and those working with the police all are at OUR service. There is nothing selfish about this !!

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

I really wonder when this crap of a pitbull or pitbull mixed dog will finally end.. This is going on for decades now. And still there are such idiotic states - like the U.S.A. - where this dog is NOT welcome.
Is there any SCIENTIFIC proof that ALL of these dogs have aggression and fighting genes ?? As told already so many times, THERE ARE NO - repeat NO - aggressive and bad dogs. It's the dog owner who is responsible for the "character" of his/her dog. If I would have a labrador, one of the kindest, friendliest dogs on earth, and as from 6/7 weeks I would train it to attack, to fight and would kick, beat, and abuse my dog in a thousand ways, this labrador also would become a very aggressive, fighting and attacking dog !!
If someone should make a petition to erase this dog from the list of "bad" dogs, I bet we would easily reach 500,000 signatures.
Luckily in Belgium, the pitbull and all pitbull mix dogs are accepted by the law, and don't need to live in basements any longer.

SHAME ON THE U.S.A. !!!

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Janis K
Janis K8 months ago

Already signed

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