WASHINGTON (WAVY) — President Joe Biden has signed a bill that seeks to connect veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with service dogs.
H.R. 1448, also known as the “Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act” or the “PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act” authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program on dog training therapy and also provide dog-training skills and service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses, regardless of whether or not they have mobility issues.
The bill is aiming to reduce veteran suicide connected to mental health conditions by partnering veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD and other post-deployment issues with service dogs.
A report from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs shows that the number of veterans with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use orders increased from 27 percent in 2001 to more than 40 percent in 2014.
The report also stated that an average of 20 veterans a day died by suicide in 2014.
The pilot program is aiming to help veterans experience an improved quality of life and the ability to re-enter society.
To learn more about the bill, click HERE.
The same day President Biden signed H.R. 1448, he also signed H.R. 3642, the “Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which provides for the award of a Congressional Gold Medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” during World War I.