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Monday, July 27, 2009

Sen. Franken's "Service Dogs for Veterans Act" passes Senate

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.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Minnesota Senator Al Franken is serious about Service and Assistance Dogs.

Yesterday Al Franken wrote an article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about his first piece of legislation as senator of Minnesota. He could have written his first bill for anything, but he chose to write it to help disabled veterans get Service Dogs.

This is an issue that has long been on Franken's radar and now, as the Junior Senator from Minnesota, he has the ability to do something about it. In January he met retired intelligence officer Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan and Tuesday, his golden retriever Service Dog. Capt. Montalvan uses a cane, and worse, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from serving in the Anbar Provence in Iraq where he was the target of an assassination attempt. His Service Dog Tuesday helps him get through life every day.

Franken hopes that his legislation will make it easier for disabled vets to obtain Service and Assistance Dogs, which can cost upwards of $20,000. We support Senator Franken in his mission. If you have questions or would like to help, you contact him at or by phone at 202-224-5641.