H.R. 3885: Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act

H.R. 3885

Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act

Date
May 24, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is expected to consider H.R. 3885 on May 24, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring two-thirds majority votes for passage.  Rep. Brown (R-SC) introduced H.R. 3885 on October 21, 2009, and it was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.  On May 12, 2010, the Committee ordered H.R. 3885 reported favorably.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3885 requires the VA to conduct a five-year pilot program for assessing the effectiveness of addressing post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms through assistance dog training.  Veterans diagnosed with PTSD or other mental health conditions would train service dogs for use by disabled veterans.  This program would be conducted at three to five Veterans Medical Centers (VAMCs) that can provide training areas.  The VA must submit an annual report to Congress on the pilot program.

Background

Considerable attention has been given in recent years to post deployment mental health issues, such as depression, PTSD, and substance use disorder.  Congress has recognized the need to provide veterans seeking treatment for mental health issues with newer and more innovative modes of therapy.  Several successful programs where veterans with PTSD help train service dogs have been in operation for a number of years.  Training service dogs is believed to be helping to address symptoms associated with post-deployment mental health conditions, and this bill would expand these pilot programs.

Cost

CBO estimates implementing H.R. 3885 would cost $7 million over the 2011-2015 time period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.