Change the Army’s Restrictive Policy on Service Dogs
  • Petitioned Secretary of the Army John McHugh

This petition was delivered to:

Secretary of the Army John McHugh

Change the Army’s Restrictive Policy on Service Dogs

    1. Matt Kuntz
    2. Petition by

      Matt Kuntz

      Helena, MT

Just over five years ago, I lost my step-brother to a suicide that was induced by a post traumatic stress injury he received while serving in Iraq. Since that time period, the Army has come a long way in treating their soldiers; but they've recently introduced a new policy that really needs to change.

A number of soldiers across the Army have begun using psychiatric service dogs (Service Dog) to help them cope with the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury. These dogs can be powerful tools in helping pull the soldiers out of flashback, terrifying nightmares, etc. For some soldiers access to their Service Dogs may be the difference between life and death by suicide.

Unfortunately, the Army has created a new policy that will limit severely injured soldiers ability to access these potentially life-saving dogs. While it is understandable for the military to want to ensure that only severely injured soldiers utilize Service Dogs and that the Service Dogs are properly trained, the new policy goes too far and will make it more difficult or even impossible for injured soldiers to access this potentially lifesaving care.

The Army's Service Dog policy should be revised to: (1) make it clear that soldiers do not need to exhaust all other treatment methods before they can qualify for a service dog, (2) ensure that soldiers with service dogs can have living quarters where they can bring their service dogs, and (3) broaden the definition of an accredited service animal provider beyond Assistance Dogs International, because Assistance Dogs International doesn’t have certifying organizations near every Army base.

Here is a link to the Army-wide policy. Here is another link to an even more restrictive service dog policy from Fort Bliss. 


Please join this petition to cut the red tape preventing soldiers from accessing this critical care.

Sincerely,
Matt Kuntz

Executive Director
NAMI Montana

Recent signatures

    News

    1. USA Today Article on Our Service Dog Petition

      Matt Kuntz
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks for everyone's help with this petition. The fight to help injured soldiers access service dogs to help them cope with their conditions is getting national coverage. It wouldn't be possible without your support.

      Please share this petitions with your friends and family. We are getting closer to victory.

      Thanks for all that you do!

      matt

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. Our Service Dog Petition is Gaining Momentum!

      Matt Kuntz
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks to everyone's help in signing and sharing this petition. The fight to help injured soldiers access life-saving service dogs in beginning to attract serious national attention. Check out the attached article in US News.

      Your signatures and those of your friends are going to make a major difference in the lives of the soldiers that need service dogs. We are well on our way to winning this fight. Please continue spreading the word about this petition by posting the link on facebook, twitter, and sending it over email.

      Thank you,
      Matt

      p.s. Senator Jon Tester from Montana also asked the Army to do a full study on how service dogs can help injured soldiers with PTSD and TBI. Thanks Senator! Check out his letter at this link.
      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24947311/2012-06-04%20Horoho%20McHugh%20Service%20Dogs%20Study.pdf

    4. Reached 750 signatures
    5. Great news coverage of the petition!

      Matt Kuntz
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks for everyone's help in getting us to 500 signatures. We've got our first press coverage of the issue and initial Congressional support. I know that we're only getting started, but it's heading in the right direction and I just want to say thanks. This wouldn't be possible without you standing up for our injured soldiers.

      Thank you!

      matt

    6. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Nancy Schmidt BELLEVUE, NE
      • about 2 years ago

      Because we MUST keep government/military regulations from taking away the least expensive and effective solution to assisting those who sacrificed their lives and families for OUR freedom. Regulations only prevent what is helping them the most. Please support ensuring they are able to have the support our military men and women need and deserve.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joanne Kaminski WEXFORD, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      Do the research ARMY! There is no excuse, you the money from one of those expensive hammers or toilets we here about.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patricia Thomas IRWIN, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      I love animals.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • cheryl johnson WEST HOMESTEAD, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      soldiers need their best friends to protect them!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bertha Sager ASPINWALL, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      It is important to our soldiers

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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