Six-month extension sought for aggressive-dog waivers in Japan
TOKYO — U.S. Marine Corps officials in Japan have asked for an extra six months to administer waivers that would allow Marines to keep pit bulls, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids or other aggressive dogs in family housing, according to a Marine spokesman in Japan.
A new Marine policy bans such breeds and types of dogs from bases worldwide, though it gives Marines until Oct. 10 to apply for a waiver to keep their dogs in their current homes.
Those waivers would expire when the family moves or by Sept. 30, 2012, whichever comes first, according to the policy.
“We have yet to determine the procedures for our waivers,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, spokesman for U.S. Marines in Japan. “We want to give it the proper thought as to how we will implement it going forward.”
The request for the extension is, in part, because on-base housing for Marines on Okinawa is controlled by the Air Force, Powell said. The Air Force does not have a similar ban. In such cases, Marine commanders should apply the bans “to the greatest extent possible,” the policy states.
To qualify for the waiver, dogs must pass a temperament test, such as ones run through the American Kennel Club or the Delta Society, the policy states.
The request for the extension went to the Pentagon, Powell said. A Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon said Wednesday the request is before U.S. Marine Corps Pacific in Hawaii.
Powell said Marines and families with the dogs should wait for further guidance as the Oct. 10 deadline approaches.
“We don’t expect it’ll be a problem,” Powell said of the request for more time.
All families with pets who live off base must follow local Japanese laws, according to the Marines.
Japan has special guidelines regarding “fighting dogs,” including pit bulls, according to information Powell provided.
Those dogs — or dogs whose bodies are taller than 22 inches — can be outside only when muzzled and when under the control of the person with them. Those dogs should also be chained or caged to prevent escape, according to the local regulation.