News Releases

Service Dogs for Veterans with Invisible Wounds - Chris and Pele 1

Service Dogs for Veterans with Invisible Wounds - Chris and Pele 2

Service Dogs for Veterans with Invisible Wounds - Chris and Pele 3

Chris Goehner, a veteran and intern in Senator Murray's office, walks the bill over to be introduced with his service dog, Pele.

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a Senate Resolution recognizing the significance of service animals for veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war. The bill was walked down to be introduced by Chris Goehner, a veteran from Cashmere, WA who is interning in Senator Murray’s office and assisted with the drafting of the legislation, as well as his service dog Pele.

“As more and more veterans come home suffering from the invisible wounds of war, we owe it to them to make sure they have the resources they need to reintegrate into the civilian world after their brave service” said Senator Patty Murray. “I have seen first-hand the benefits service animals provide to our veterans. And I was proud to introduce this Resolution with Senator Franken to recognize their significance for veterans with invisible wounds.”

"The first piece of legislation I introduced in the Senate was a bill to expand VA's provision of service dogs to veterans with disabilities, so I'm very pleased to join Senator Murray in pushing the cause forward,” said Senator Al Franken. “There are many veterans with invisible wounds who want and would benefit from having a service animal. We owe it to them to make that a reality."

The full text of the Resolution follows:

Recognizing the significance of service animals for veterans with invisible wounds.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

Mrs. MURRAY and Mr. FRANKEN submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the significance of service animals for veterans with invisible wounds.

Whereas, as of July 2010, there are more than 70,000 disabled veterans from ongoing military conflicts, and more than 400,000 disabled veterans from all military conflicts in the United States;

Whereas service animals are being placed with veterans for the invisible wounds incurred by those veterans in combat operations;

Whereas invisible wounds include post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries;

Whereas the Department of Veterans Affairs has funding for the placement of service animals with veterans;

Whereas veterans with service animals are entitled to the protections provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1900 (42 U.S. C. 12101 et seq.) that relate to access to the workplace, public events, restaurants, housing and other places, mitigating the isolation veterans with invisible wounds may have experienced due to the symptoms of their invisible wounds;

Whereas service animals are making it possible for veterans with invisible wounds to return to the work place and institutions of higher education, and assisting in their reintegration of veterans into society after selflessly serving the United States;

Whereas veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder make a bold stand by asking for help;

Whereas services animal have proven effective to prevent isolation, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts and assist veterans to function normally in social settings; and

Whereas the United States has a responsibility to provide assistance and create opportunities for the tens of thousands of in the United States who have been wounded in military conflicts or have received service-connected disabilities: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1)   recognizes that service animals have an important role in the treatment of invisible wounds;

(2) recognizes that veterans with service animals are protected under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.);

 (3) encourages organizations that assist have programs to assist veterans with placement of service animals to continue these programs to support veterans of the United States; and

(4) encourages the public to understand the significance of service animals to veterans with invisible wounds and afford them the same opportunities in accordance to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.