House Oks service dogs for veterans with PTSD

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Associated Press

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 1:02 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has passed a bill allowing military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to have service dogs.

The proposal by San Antonio Democratic Rep. Jose Menendez was sent to the Senate on Wednesday by a 120-21 vote.

In addition to expanding who can get service dogs, the bill ensures that the animals are allowed into restaurants and food stores.

It includes a fine of $300 and community service for discriminating against a disabled person.

Some lawmaker debate focused on whether restaurant and other business owners who could face criminal penalties for attempting to verify that an animal is being used to assist a disabled person.

Also, it passed with an amendment clarifying that only dogs — not other service animals — can gain access to certain public places.

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