Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 4305, which would allocate federal funds for the training of service dogs for veterans.
American Humane is excited that this bill is taking off – it passed with a bipartisan, unanimous bipartisan vote. In an era of increasingly bitter partisanship, it’s heartening that members of both parties can unite in support of veterans and the healing power of the human-animal bond.
Through our Pups4PatriotsTM program, American Humane trains service dogs for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. Our trainers see firsthand how the healing power of the leash transforms and, in some cases, saves lives.
But training service dogs is expensive – costing up to $30,000. The Pups4PatriotsTM provides dogs to veterans at no cost to them, thanks to the generous support of donors. But there is a substantial need that is not being met. Up to one in five veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are diagnosed with PTS, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The V.A. only covers the cost of service dogs for veterans with select physical disabilities, but not PTS. Putting federal dollars behind service dogs would help veterans across the country. Now that the PAWS Act has passed the House, American Humane is working to see it pass the Senate and be signed into law.