- On July 26, 2017
As Congress approaches its August recess, The HSUS is urging lawmakers to pass a package of bills making it easier for vets and service members to receive therapy dogs. In a political climate that has both Democrats and Republicans digging their heels in and seemingly unwilling to compromise on a range of contentious issues, the pairing of service dogs with veterans is one on which both sides seem to be in agreement.
“At a time in a country when we are so polarized, this is a set of issues that we can unite around,” Wayne Pacelle told The Hill. “The American public will be pleased that the Congress is getting something done and is doing something that is aligned with their values.”
One of the bills around this issue up for consideration is the Paws Act, which would provide more service dogs to vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although veterans with physical disabilities already have access to service dogs, the bill would also authorize the Veterans Administration (VA) to fund a five-year program to support organizations that provide companion animals to wounded veterans.
There are several other bills regarding pairing service animals with veterans in the package. One calls for VA facilities to connect veterans with local dog training organizations in order to study and measure the therapeutic value of these programs. There is support for the concept of pairing military personnel with therapy dogs after the completion of their service, on the part of the public as well as within the miiltary.
The tough legislative schedule, which includes passing a spending bill, raising the debt ceiling and taking on priorities such as passing a healthcare bill and instituting tax reform presents a challenge to lawmakers to get everything completed in time. It remains uncertain when the package of bills promoting service animals will finally see movement in light of so many competing legislative priorities.
A central component of the mission and work of The HSUS is to advocate on behalf of animals through both legal and legislative means. That is why Wayne Pacelle and the entire organization are continually pushing these important measures forward. It’s particularly heartening when legislation has the potential to benefit both humans and animals.
“We inform our constituents, lobby offices, write position papers, take advertising, rally millions of Americans, and do much more to advance our goals on Capitol Hill,” Wayne Pacelle told The Hill.
“[The Humane Society of the United States] is all about getting the Congress to act on legislation to advance animal welfare.”
Read the full article on TheHill.com.