Magazine  >  Issue 70  >  Vets and Service Dogs

Vets and Service Dogs

American Humane Aims to Address Obstacles in Public Access to Vets with Service Dogs.

American Humane Hosted a first-of-its-kind national convening to address a major issue for our nation’s veterans: breaking down barriers for access to PTS service dogs.

Every day, more than 180 veterans are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). PTS service dogs play a vital role in the health, well-being and recovery of many of these veterans, but waiting lists for these life-saving animals can take as long as 18-24 months. Currently, there are no national standards or best practices for training and credentialing these vitally important service dogs. And to compound that, many Americans are uninformed about the roles and rights of service dogs, making access to public places harder for vets with service dogs.

In fact, results of a survey conducted by American Humane suggest employees are un- prepared to accommodate the unique needs of customers with PTS service dogs. Employees also question the credibility of people claiming their animal is a service dog, especially when those customers have no visible disabilities, as with many PTS veterans. Key findings include:

Seven in 10 employees surveyed feel at best “moderately informed” regarding the difference between service animals, therapy animals, and emotional support animals, including more than one-fifth (23 percent) of respondents who say they’re “not informed at all.

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