New bill demands service dogs for veterans

Fla. (CNN) — A group of lawmakers is pushing for a bill that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide service dogs to vets suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Ohio Representative Steve Stiver first introduced the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members Act to the House of Representatives back in 2o19. Florida Representative John Rutherford then reintroduced the bill Wednesday.

The bill aims to help prevent suicides among vets. In fact, Purdue University conducted a study proving that dogs can significantly lower PTSD symptoms.

The VA currently doesn’t cover service dog costs. In support of the bill, Representative Michael Waltz says it’s time for the VA to look beyond medication to treat the disorder.

“At the end of the day, veterans deserve the full menu. And the providers should have a full menu of options, whether it’s service dogs, whether it’s hyperbaric chambers, whether it’s different types of therapies,” said Waltz. “But we have to get out of this paradigm of basically, frankly providing various types of drugs to our vets when we can have these alternative types of treatments. And I can tell you veteran after veteran after veteran that I’ve served with and that I deal with now tell me that these dogs work.”

Florida-based charity, K9’s for Warriors partnered with the congressmen to support the bill. The charity says the service dogs they train come from shelters, and partnering with veterans would actually save two lives.

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