Michigan state Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, has introduced bipartisan legislation that is designed to protect military veterans with service dogs from discrimination. Under the four-bill package, current statutes on service dogs for the blind, hearing impaired or physically disabled would be expanded to include protections for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries or other psychological disorders.
Included in the legislative package is one measure that would establish a volunteer application process through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. That protocol would permit veterans to obtain state-issued identification, dog tags and service dog vests.
Knezek, who served in Iraq, says that many veterans return home with what he calls “invisible wounds,” including PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Knezek explains that many of these veterans find solace and comfort through the presence of a service animal.
Unfortunately, Knezek says, some people question whether a veteran who appears healthy by all outward appearances has a legitimate need for a service animal.
Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, one of the package’s four co-sponsors, adds that it will help educate businesses about the special needs of veterans with service dogs.
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