HR 3885 RFS
H. R. 3885
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 26, 2010
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program on dog training therapy.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act’.
SEC. 2. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PILOT PROGRAM ON DOG TRAINING THERAPY.
(b) Duration of Pilot Program- The pilot program required by subsection (a) shall be carried out at least three and not more than five Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers during the five-year period beginning on the date of the commencement of the pilot program.
(2) be wheelchair accessible;
(6) provide for periodic use of other training areas for training the dogs with wheelchairs and conducting other exercises;
(7) include outdoor exercise and toileting space for dogs; and
(4) ensure that each assistance dog used in the program is purpose-bred for assistance dog work and has adequate temperament and health clearances;
(5) ensure that each assistance dog participating in the pilot program is taught 90 commands pertaining to assistance dog skills;
(6) ensure that each assistance dog live at the pilot program site or a volunteer foster home in the vicinity of such site while receiving training;
(7) ensure that the pilot program involves both lecture of assistance dog training methodologies and practical hands-on training and grooming of assistance dogs; and
(8) ensure that the pilot program is designed to–
(B) provide well-trained assistance dogs to veterans with disabilities.
(e) Veteran Eligibility- A veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder or other post-deployment mental health condition may volunteer to participate in the pilot program under subsection (a) if the Secretary determines that there are adequate program resources available for such veteran at the pilot program site.
(f) Hiring Preference- In hiring service dog training instructors under the pilot program under subsection (a), the Secretary shall give a preference to veterans who have successfully graduated from post-traumatic stress disorder or other residential treatment programs and who have received adequate certification in assistance dog training.
(g) Collection of Data- The Secretary shall collect data on the pilot program required under subsection (a) to determine how effective the program is for the veterans participating in the program. Such data shall include data to determine how effectively the program assists veterans in–
(1) reducing stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder or other post-deployment mental health condition;
(2) improving emotional regulation;
(3) improving patience;
(4) instilling or re-establishing a sense of purpose;
(5) providing an opportunity to help fellow veterans;
(6) reintegrating into the community;
(7) exposing the dog to new environments and in doing so, helping the veteran reduce social isolation and withdrawal and increase their sense of safety;
(8) building relationship skills;
(9) relaxing the hyper-vigilant survival state;
(10) improving sleep patterns; and
(11) enabling veterans to decrease the use of pain medication.
(h) Reports to Congress- Not later than one year after the date of the commencement of the pilot program under subsection (a), and each year thereafter for the duration of the pilot program, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the pilot program. Each such report shall include–
(1) the number of veterans participating in the pilot program;
(2) a description of the services carried out by the Secretary under the pilot program;
(3) the effects that participating in the pilot program has on the following–
(A) symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and post-deployment adjustment difficulties, including depression, maintenance of sobriety, suicidal ideations, and homelessness;
(B) potentially relevant physiological markers that possibly relate to the interactions with the service dogs;
(C) family dynamics;
(D) insomnia and pain management; and
(E) overall well being; and
(4) the recommendations of the Secretary with respect to the extension or expansion of the pilot program.
(i) Definition- For the purposes of this section, the term ‘service dog training instructor’ means an instructor who provides the direct training of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other post-deployment issues in the art and science of assistance dog training and handling.
Passed the House of Representatives May 25, 2010.
Attest: LORRAINE C. MILLER, Clerk.
Passed 1st Time in 111th Congress
5/25/2010–Passed House without amendment. (This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the House reported version is repeated here.) Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act – Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out a pilot program for assessing the effectiveness of addressing post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms through a therapeutic medium of assistance dog training and handling for veterans with disabilities. Requires the pilot program to be carried out at: (1) at least three and not more than five VA medical centers over a five-year period; and (2) centers that provide a training area for educating veterans with mental health conditions in the art and science of assistance dog training and handling. Directs the Secretary, in hiring instructors under the program, to give a preference to veterans who have successfully graduated from PTSD or other residential treatment programs and received certification in assistance dog training. Requires the Secretary to report annually to Congress during the duration of the program.
“H.R. 3885–111th Congress: Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act.” GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation). 2009. October 19, 2011 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3885&tab=summary