Senator Marsha Blackburn, Colleagues Introduce Bill To Honor The Contributions Of Service Animals

Senator Marsha Blackburn.
Senator Marsha Blackburn.

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) along with Representatives Susan Wild (D-Penn.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) introduced the National Service Animals Memorial Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to honor and recognize the contributions of service animals and their handlers to the public wellbeing, safety, and independence of Americans throughout our history.?

“Service animals are trained to strengthen public safety, bolster national security, and provide medical independence in ways humans cannot. Their unique abilities are more than an additional asset—they are essential,” said Senator Blackburn. “The National Service Animals Memorial Act formally recognizes their contributions and brings awareness to their invaluable service.”  

“Homage is long overdue—expressed by this bipartisan bill—to brave service animals and handlers who have put their lives on the line, and sometimes sacrificed them,” said Senator Blumenthal. “They’ve helped protect our troops from deadly danger, and supported Americans unstintingly. Their life-changing service to disabled Americans, and veterans recovering from wounds of war, is legendary and should be celebrated—as this memorial would eloquently do. I thank colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining this historic cause.”
 
“As a dog owner, I’ve seen the healing powers of animals in my personal life, and I am continually amazed by all the ways service animals and their handlers help Americans, whether it be a person with a disability, a police officer, or a service member,” said Representative Wild. “Animals have been helping humans for millions of years, and it’s beyond time to start memorializing their contributions. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to honor all the ways that the human-animal bond has improved our lives.”

“As a dog owner myself, I have personally experienced what a special place these loving creatures hold in our hearts. Service animals lift the lives and spirits of military members, police officers, and those with disabilities every day,” said Representative Mace. “This bill commemorates the bond between animal and handler, and recognizes the life-saving and life-sustaining service they so generously provide to our communities.”

Formalized service animal work dates to 1929 with the first guide dog training at the Eustice School, though animals have served alongside humans for much longer. Service animals are trained to provide medical assistance, aid law enforcement, and support military efforts.

This bill would authorize the creation of a memorial in the Greater Washington, D.C. area under the Commemorative Works Act to show gratitude for service animals and their handlers and serve as a place of introspection about their contributions. The memorial will be fully paid for by a partnering organization, and no taxpayer dollars will be used.

The National Service Animals Memorial Act is endorsed by Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society of the United States, and the National Service Animals Monument Corporation.