Excellent news! The United States Senate has officially passed Sen. Al Franken’s bill “The Service Dogs for Veterans Act,” during a late night session last week. The bill is aimed at providing more Service and Assistance Dogs to disabled veterans. The program will partner with existing non-profit groups which train Service and Assistance Dogs. The three-year pilot program aims to train dogs to assist up to 200 disabled veterans who have mental or physical disabilities. During the course of the program The National Academy of Sciences will conduct a study to measure its effectiveness.
The bill has been incorporated into the Defense Authorization bill (S.1390) for the 2010 fiscal year. Franken commented, “There is evidence to suggest that increasing the number of service dogs would reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care.”
The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) along with others from both sides of the aisle including Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Begich (D-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Ensign (R-NV).
The bill still needs to go through the House but chances are high that it will pass and be signed by Obama. You can read more on the Talking Points Memo blog.