LANSING, Mich. — Legislation to protect Michigan military veterans who use service dogs to better manage the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) was approved Thursday by the Michigan Senate.
“These bills provide certainty for our veterans and others who use service dogs to help cope with injuries, seen and unseen,” said state Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, who co-sponsored the Senate bills. “We provide special license plates and other discounts, which are great, but this is what’s really important. It’s a privilege to have a part in bringing understanding for service men and women who need these companions.”
Senate Bill 298 would expand existing state law to allow for the use of service dogs in Michigan and would establish penalties for those who harass or injure a service dog. SB 299 would exempt licensing fees for veterans’ service dogs. Companion measures introduced and passed by the state House of Representatives are expected to be approved soon.
House Bill 4521 would require the Department of Civil Rights to create an identification card, tag and vest for service animals and HB 4527 would expand the range of disabilities eligible for the use of service dogs and would establish criminal penalties of up to 90 days in jail for falsely claiming to have a disability that would enable a person to use a service dog.
All measures are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
SB’s 298 and 299 now go to the House for consideration while HB’s 4521 and 4527 are being considered by the Senate.