Daines: New VA Service Animal Rule is a “Step in the Right Direction”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today commended news that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has revised its rules regarding veterans’ ability to bring service animals to VA facilities.

Veterans in some states, including Montana, have had difficulty bringing their animals into VA medical facilities. The VA’s new rule will put clear guidance in place that allows the presence of service animals at VA facilities across the United States.

“While there is still work to be done, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction. I’m glad the VA has responded to my calls to ensure our veterans can have their service animals at their sides while seeking care at VA medical facilities,”Daines stated. “Our nation’s heroes should always have access to the care and services they need, and that includes the presence of service animals, which provide critical services and support for countless veterans. I will closely monitor the VA’s implementation of this policy to ensure Montana veterans’ needs are met.”

Daines has long worked to ensure veterans are able to bring their service animals to VA facilities. In the House, Daines introducedThe Expanding Access for Veterans’ Service Animals Act, which called on the VA to create and implement a certification process for therapeutic animals that mitigate the effects of mental health conditions and requires the VA to allow service animals to stay with veterans while they receive inpatient care.

Daines also authored and secured language in the SenateFY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would ensure veterans with service animals can bring those animals into Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) facilities.