Lawmakers introduce bill to create commemorative coins honoring working dogs

Top lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday introduced a bill that calls for developing a series of commemorative coins to honor working dogs.

The bill, dubbed the Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act, would direct the United States Mint to create a series of three-piece commemorative coins to honor “the invaluable service that working dogs provide to society.”

Any extras on the bill would go to America’s VetDogs – an organization that trains and places service dogs for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and facility dogs for the rehabilitation process in military hospitals and of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill does not provide for the creation of more than 1.3 million gold-plated, silver-plated and half-dollar coins, which will have designs “emblematic of the vast contributions that working dogs make to society to include the range of services that these dogs provide. in detection, military service, therapy and assistance.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and co-sponsor of the bill, said working dogs provide an “invaluable service” from the battlefield to the home front.

“Not only do these incredible animals serve alongside our troops and law enforcement, but they also help injured veterans when they return home,” he added.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and co-sponsor of the bill, said the legislation would recognize service dogs and help provide financial support for their training.

“When I commanded infantry in Afghanistan, our K9 dog was an important member of the platoon,” Auchincloss said in a statement.

“Assistance dogs support the homeland and national security in a range of missions, some of which are very dangerous. This bipartisan legislation will provide the recognition our service dogs deserve, while providing the resources to train service dogs to support our veterans,” he added.

The introduction of the Working Dog Memorial Coins Act comes after President Biden signed the Puppies Assisting Injured Servicemen for Veterans Therapy Act last month, which will provide service dogs to veterans. fighters with certain mental health issues.

Specifically, it requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a five-year pilot program that will train and provide service dogs to eligible veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill requires the department to launch the program in at least five VA medical facilities by 2022.

Politico first reported on the tabling of the bill.

Bette C. Alvarado