May 3 (UPI) -- Two U.S. senators resumed their PAWS for a cause Wednesday in Washington -- providing service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Service dogs can provide support, peace, and joy to these Americans as they confront the invisible scars of war," Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in reintroducing Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, or PAWS Act.
Fischer noted that veterans with physical disabilities already can receive a service dog. The PAWS Act would authorize a five-year, $10 million pilot program to provide trained canines to veterans with PTSD.
"Service dogs can be an effective approach to supporting veterans who are struggling with PTSD or other combat-related illnesses, just as they have shown to be effective for physically disabled veterans," she said.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., appeared with Fischer and three service dogs and their owners at the news conference. He said the Department of Veterans Affairs now supports the program despite inconclusive medical evidence that dogs help relieve PTSD.
"Say we're wrong about this -- people get a dog," said DeSantis, who introduced the House version of the PAWS Act. "There's not really a big downside to this."