Jacksonville-sponsored ‘PAWS Act’ reaches U.S. Senate

“The science tells us pairing service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD works.”

UPDATE | March 24, 2021

Jacksonville K9s For Warriors CEO Rory Diamond announced Thursday that his co-sponsored PAWS Act legislation has been received by the U.S. Senate, marking the next steps on its road to passage.

Earlier this month Congressman John Rutherford, along with Representatives Chris Pappas, Michael Waltz, Al Lawson and Steve Stivers, announced the reintroduction of H.R. 1022, the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act of 2021, which will increase access to Service Dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The PAWS Act establishes a competitive grant program through the Department of Veterans Affairs for organizations, such as K9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra, to pair Service Dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.



ORIGINAL STORY | March 3, 2021

On Thursday, Congressman John Rutherford, along with Representatives Chris Pappas, Michael Waltz, Al Lawson and Steve Stivers, announced the reintroduction of H.R. 1022, the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act of 2021, which will increase access to Service Dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Research from the VA has concluded that Service Dogs are a proven therapy for those suffering from PTSD,” said Rep. Rutherford.

“With twenty veterans taking their own lives each day, we must do more to help those with PTSD and other service-connected forms of trauma. I am proud to reintroduce the PAWS Act to help our warfighters lead productive and successful lives once they return to civilian life.”

The PAWS Act establishes a competitive grant program through the Department of Veterans Affairs for organizations, such as K9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra, to pair Service Dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.

“Making Service Dogs more accessible to veterans will ultimately empower our nation’s heroes to successfully reintegrate into civilian life,” said K9s For Warriors CEO Rory Diamond.

“The PAWS Act would commit considerable resources towards properly training and pairing Service Dogs with veterans who would most benefit from them.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs distributes grants up to $25,000 to eligible organizations to pair service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD. To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must meet the publicly available National Standard of the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans, and maintain expertise in the unique needs of veterans with PTSD.

Eligible veterans must be enrolled in the VA system and receive a PTSD diagnosis by a qualified health care provider.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.