Bill in Congress to Allow All Service Dogs on VA Property

veteran and service dog

by Levi Newman on March 21, 2011

Representative John Carter, of Texas, is sponsoring a new bill in Congress that will enable more veterans to visit VA facilities more easily.  Current VA policy allows only seeing-eye dogs, service dogs that assist vision impaired veterans, onto VA property.  The VA is working in-house to add mobility service dogs to those allowed into VA facilities, but this bill would require entrance for all service dogs.  This means vision, mobility, hearing, and even psychiatric service dogs.  Psychiatric dogs are those trained to help veterans with PTSD cope with the symptoms better.

AmVets Legislative Director, Christina Roof, says the goal is to modernize the VA, changing it from an outdated to policy to reflect the advances made with service animals.  The VA’s purpose is to help disabled veterans, and Roof says “we should never refuse care to veterans based on their disability or the prosthetic device they use to assist them.”  Even if that device is a dog.

The VA’s policy to allow mobility service dogs could take effect as early as June of this year, while bill HR 1154 still has to be passed by Congress.  Carter believes his bill will be easily passed because of its “commonsense” nature.


Photo thanks to The U.S. Army under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

DB March 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

This is the Department of Veterans Affairs
Veteran’s Health Administration Directive dated March 10,2011 which allows guide dogs and other service dogs. It does not address “other animals”.


Jimmy Robison April 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

The VA (absurdly enough) Is violating the Americans Disability Act(Title III,part 36) with the current policy as it stands now. No public or private facility can refuse entry by a disabled person with a service animal. If refused the violator can be fined and forced to pay damages by the Department of Justice!Do not say you have not been warned VA!!!!!!!!!!!


carol christopherson August 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

The va is federal property and federal agency is not under the ada its under the rehab act section 501 for employees and 504 for public access and federal fund recipients. But still in violation!


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