Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-G.A.) today (Wednesday, July 22) introduced the Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which will set up a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs to pair service dogs with veterans who have physical or mental wounds, including PTSD.
This bipartisan legislation marks Sen. Franken’s first piece of legislation since taking office two weeks ago.
Additional co-sponsors are Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-L.A.), Sen. Mark Begich (D-A.K.), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-O.H.).
“As someone who's spent time with our troops on USO tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, and met wounded warriors at Walter Reed and Bethesda, I feel a real obligation to the men and women who have risked life and limb on our behalf,” said Sen. Franken.
“There’s a huge return on investment here. Service dogs can do amazing things, and there is evidence to suggest that increasing their numbers would reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care.
“I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much. But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This small investment will pay dividends for these veterans for years to come.
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