Sgt. Corey McCourt with Sgt. Mina. Photo: Facebook
A bomb-sniffing military dog is being denied burial in a national military cemetery where his handler's family is buried.
Mina, a Labrador Retriever, achieved the rank of sergeant and was adopted by his handler, Army Sgt. Corey McCourt when he retired at age 11.
Last week, Mina was euthanized at age 13 after suffering an incurable lung ailment. Army Sgt. McCourt continues to serve overseas so his mother, June Etlinger, is arranging for Mina's burial.
Mina was a bomb-sniffing dog and served nine tours in Afghanistan. He served with June's' sons several times. "They were battle buddies,' June said. "He brought my son home three times and six other people before him. My feeling is you need to honor him."
She thought it would be a fitting tribute to Mina to have the dog buried at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan along side her father and grandparents who are buried there. "It’s a beautiful cemetery and it’s an honorable cemetery, and I just feel that Mina deserves that as well,” she said.
Unfortunately, under federal law, dogs are not permitted to be buried in national cemeteries. There are no provisions for military service animals.
The family is now considering their options. They are contacting senators and congressmen representing Michigan and are hoping to have the ruling overruled to allow a canine burial. The Military War Dog Cemetery in Lyon Township also contacted WJBK News to say that they are offering the family a service with full military honors.
A petition has also been set up by others on the Whitehouse website here.
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