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Congressmen want VA to provide dogs to vets

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service dogs

(CNN) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is drumming up support for a bill that would require the department of veterans affairs to provide service dogs to vets with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio first introduced the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members Act into the house back in 2019.

Florida Representative John Rutherford reintroduced it into the current session Wednesday.

The bill's aim is to help prevent suicides among vets suffering from PTSD. Both congressmen are working with fellow Republicans and Democrats to drum up support for the measure. The VA does not currently fund service dogs to treat PTSD.

A study conducted by Purdue University has found the dogs can significantly lower PTSD symptoms.

Representative Michael Waltz of Florida said it's time for the VA to look beyond medication and therapy to treat the disorder.

"At the end of the day, veterans deserve the full menu. And the providers should have a full menu of options, whether it's service dogs, whether it's hyperbaric chambers, whether it's different types of therapies. But we have to get out of this paradigm of basically, frankly providing various types of drugs to our vets when we can have these alternative types of treatments. And I can tell you veteran after veteran after veteran that I've served with and that I deal with now tell me that these dogs work," Said Waltz.

Florida-based charity K9's for Warriors also partnered with the congressmen to support the bill. Officials there say the service dogs they train come from shelters and partnering them with veterans saves two lives.