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SAVES Act aims to get more funding for service dogs for veterans

A veteran embracing his service dog.
K9s for Warriors
A veteran embracing his service dog.

The newly introduced bill by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) would allow for nonprofit organizations to receive grants to carry out such programs.

A bipartisan bill filed in Congress is looking to establish a program that awards grants to nonprofit organizations to help them provide service dogs to military veterans. The "Service Dogs Assisting Veterans Act" or SAVES Act is expected to provide more service dogs to veterans in critical need with issues, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety. North Carolina’s U.S. Senator Thom Tillis introduced the legislation last month with several of his congressional colleagues.

“The SAVES Act will allow more veterans who are struggling with the invisible wounds of war to receive service dogs that could ultimately save their lives,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, in a recent press release.

Under the bill, participating organizations would have to be accredited byAssistance Dog International, which credits organizations for having the right standards to train service dogs.

K9s for Warriors is one of the nation's largest organizations that train service dogs for vets.

“We're seeing a growing demand in veterans that are seeking mental health treatment,” said Bill McCabe, a spokesperson with the organization, one of several that worked with Tillis on the bill.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Carolina has the eighth largest veteran population in the U.S. with over 600,000 veterans.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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