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Public Statements

SUPPORT H.R. 1154, THE VETERANS EQUAL TREATMENT FOR SERVICE DOGS ACT

By:
Date:
Location: Washington DC

* Mrs. BACHMANN. Mr. Speaker, in 1985, Army Ranger Light Kevin Stone's life changed when the Army vehicle he was in tumbled over a mountain edge and down 144 feet. Stone broke his neck and suffered severe brain trauma to the point of losing every memory prior to the six months before the accident.

* A true miracle, Stone now lives an independent life thanks to his service dog, Mambo. But sadly, rules at some Vets Hospitals welcome seeing eye dogs while preventing service dogs like Mambo from coming in.

* The working best friends of our wounded vets must be allowed with them at all times in order to do their jobs--including during VA visits. That's why I'm proud to cosponsor Judge Carter's effort, H.R. 1154, legislation which will close the working-dog loophole and welcome all dogs into VA care centers.

* The VA considers service dogs like Mambo needed prostheses, like legs or arms. And Stone compares Mambo to a crucial tool--a wheelchair.

* Current policy allows each VA center to set dog guidelines. That means, Stone is given care at some facilities if Mambo is with him.

* We can fix this problem by passing the Veterans for Equal Treatment of Service Dogs Act, or the VETS Dogs Act.

* This will ensure working service dogs can accompany their owner to every single VA facility, just like seeing eye dogs are allowed to do. This will be a permanent solution for our wounded veterans.

* Kevin Stone credits his service dogs--Mambo, and Mambo's predecessor, Jonah--with allowing him to successfully represent his country around the world. He's no longer in camouflage, but another type of uniform: Kevin Stone used his service dog to compete on the U.S. Paralympic team. He won bronze in Athens and he's set American records in Beijing. With Mambo at his side, Stone continues to represent the U.S. Olympic Committee on the U.S. Paralympic Committee's Military Program as a coach and mentor.

* Not all wounded vets compete with their service dogs, but they do everyday things like other Americans: when they get on the bus, get their groceries, get their mail and go to the doctor's office, their service dogs are there.

* Colleagues, you may not know a veteran personally injured in Iraq or Afghanistan, but go to a VA in your district, and you'll meet hundreds of our nation's heroes who gave so much, but had so much taken away.

* If service dogs allow our wounded vets to lead happy and independent lives, then we have a duty to ensure government regulations help, not hinder, the relationship between dog and owner.

* Join us as we work to better the lives of our vets and as our veterans are empowered to overcome challenges. Because retired Army Ranger Light Fighter Kevin Stone isn't playing a game when he tells Mambo to ``fetch''.


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