Rep. Grimm’s Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act Passes the House

Oct 11, 2011 Issues: Veterans
Rep. Grimm’s Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act Passes the House

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representative Michael G. Grimm’s (R,C-NY) Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act (H.R. 198) unanimously passed the House. It was one of six bills combined into a larger veteran’s health care bill (H.R. 2074).  Grimm’s bill establishes a program that allows veterans to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through therapeutic dog training and handling. The trained service dogs are then given to physically disabled veterans to help them with their daily activities.  This is the first bill Rep. Grimm introduced as a member of Congress and his first bill to pass the House.

“This type of program that allows veterans to help veterans could have a tremendous impact in New York,” said Grimm. “Ideally, I’d like to see this type of program established at the Brooklyn VA Hospital, which currently provides care for many of the veterans in my district. As a veteran, and an American, I am thrilled that this legislation has passed the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass it without delay, so that it can be signed into law and allow us to begin providing assistance to our returning veterans.”

Grimm’s legislation establishes a pilot program in VA medical centers for educating veterans with mental health conditions in the art and science of assistance dog training and handling.  It also calls for an assessment of the benefits of addressing the symptoms of PTSD through a therapeutic medium of dog training, and it encourages the use of shelter dogs, when appropriate.

The program’s combined approach creates an opportunity to save money by offering an alternative treatment to PTSD while at the same time benefitting physically disabled veterans in need of assistance. In addition, with veteran suicide rates so high and more servicemen and women developing PTSD, this bill meets a crucial need for additional treatment methods.

Congressman Michael Grimm is a Marine combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm.