For the first time, we're seeing the dogs seized in an FBI raid on a local training facility.
It happened a week ago, when federal agents seized dogs and records at Universal K-9. The animals' new handlers say the dogs are healthy and happy, but the investigation is far from over.
"This is what we do, we find retired working dogs and bring them into our care,” said Mission K9 Rescue co-founder Kristen Maurer.
The group works to rehome dogs that have worked in the military, law enforcement, or alongside first responders. They're happy to report that the dogs they've received are in good shape.
"They're healthy, they're happy, they seem very well adjusted,” Maurer said.
The goal is to land these dogs homes with people who know how to work with their skills.
No matter how lovable they may be, they're not for every home.
“You may see a picture of a dog and think, ‘Oh, it's beautiful,’ but that dog may not work for your family,” co-founder Louisa Kastener said.
On Wednesday, the FBI said that there is no new information they can share on the investigation into Universal K-9.
A number of veterans told KENS 5 that they were using the GI Bill to attend the dog training school. When reached for comment, the VA said that they're working to contact any former students and let them know they don't have to repay any benefits used to pay for tuition or fees at the school.
According to the VA, the Texas Veterans Commission signed off on the program’s GI Bill eligibility. A statement on the TVC's website says that it has withdrawn approval for VA benefits being used to pay for its K-9 programs. They're also working to identify and assist students impacted by the program’s closure.
Tax forms obtained by KENS 5 show Universal K-9 claiming that they received a $158,000 donation from the TVC. The TVC claims that they did not give this money but did not respond to our request for comment on Wednesday.
For these dogs and their handlers. it's not where they've been but where they're going,
moving ahead to a new happy home.
"We love all dogs, but these dogs are special,” Maurer said. “They’ve given their life to service.”