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Karabinchak & Tucker Bill to Allow Service & Emotional Support Dogs at State Veterans’ Homes Passes Committee

In order to authorize service and emotional support dogs in State veterans’ residential facilities, Assembly Democrats Robert Karabinchak and Cleopatra Tucker sponsor legislation that would allow veterans to have certified, trained or licensed service/support dogs in State veterans’ residential facilities.

The bipartisan bill (A-3981) brings state law in line with federal standards regarding service animals while expanding on federal law by also allowing emotional support dogs in these facilities. Any veteran who wants to be accompanied by their service or support dog must provide documentation explaining the tasks the animal performs, confirming it is up-to-date on its vaccines, and attesting to its training or certification.

Upon the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs committee advancing the legislation on Thursday, Assembly members Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) and Tucker (D-Essex) issued the following joint statement:

“Service and support dogs provide critical assistance by performing an array of tasks on behalf of people with mental and physical disabilities who cannot complete those tasks on their own. Whether the animal detects impending medical emergencies, guides someone without sight, fetches items for someone with mobility issues, or soothes someone suffering from an anxiety attack, the support they provide is invaluable to those facing otherwise insurmountable challenges.

“No one should have to make the choice between giving up their service dog to live in a veterans’ home or forgoing the housing and care they need in order to keep their service dog. That is especially true for our veterans – many of whom are living with PTSD or physical disabilities as a result of their service to our country. This legislation will guarantee no one is faced with that unfair decision going forward.”