Bill allowing veterans homes residents to have four-legged visitors clears committee
NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco that would allow individuals with dogs, especially therapy dogs, to visit residents in State-run veterans homes was approved by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“Family pets, particularly dogs, have been shown in multiple studies to reduce anxiety, loneliness, and depression. The simple act of petting a dog can reduce stress,” Bucco (R-25) said. “My legislation will finally permit dogs, especially therapy dogs, to visit State-run veterans homes so that the men and women who served this country, and have sacrificed so much, can experience the joy and comfort of these lovable animals.”
Bucco’s legislation, S-3028, would permit any family member or friend visiting a veterans home resident to bring their dog along for the visit. All dogs entering veterans homes must have proof of a rabies vaccine, as well as other vaccines as required by the state of New Jersey.
“Extensive research has shown that dogs, particularly therapy dogs, can reduce stress physiologically by decreasing cortisol levels,” Bucco said. “A visit from one of these intelligent canines can be extremely beneficial to veterans who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder or extreme anxiety.”