UPDATE: Wow! That was fast! Rep. Cory Mason tells us that late this afternoon the rules were changed, and the vets will get their dogs back. Mason's office was called by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, and told that the Department of Administration has agreed to allow registered therapy dogs back in the veterans homes.
Let dogs back into vets' home, say area legislators
Three Racine legislators called on the state today to quickly change a new policy banning dogs at two state veterans' homes.
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs recently stopped allowing animals in the two state-run veterans homes because it is against state regulations. The WDVA has asked the state Department of Administration to grant an exemption to allow therapeutic animals inside these veterans homes.
The use of therapy dogs is common in many nursing homes. Research has shown that these visits can decrease loneliness and improve some residents’ quality of life.
Sen. John Lehman and Reps. Cory Mason and Bob Turner, who represent residents at the Veterans Home at Union Grove, sent a letter today to DOA urging quick approval of this exemption request, so dog visits can resume.
“Visits from these dogs are not only therapeutic, but also provide a comfort of home to residents who owned dogs before moving to the Veterans Home,” Lehman said.
“Our veterans have given everything to serve our country. The least we can do is afford them the comfort found by man’s best friend,” said Mason.
“As a veteran myself, I felt it important to ask the DOA to expedite the request from WDVA and allow these visits to residents to continue,” said Turner.