IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 7, 2022
Mr. Blumenthal (for himself and Mrs. Blackburn) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
To authorize the National Service Animals Monument Corporation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
National Service Animals Memorial Act.
Congress finds that—
the mission of the National Service Animals Monument Corporation is to honor and recognize the broad scope of service animals, including working animals, through the establishment of a memorial to educate the public about the contributions made by service animals and the human-animal bond between service animals and the handlers of the service animals, regardless of whether the handler is an individual with a disability, a law enforcement officer, military personnel, or any other individual;
in 1929, formalized service animal work began when the Eustice School in New Jersey established the first guide-dog school;
the purple poppy is the international symbol for the service and sacrifice of service animals;
on February 24 of each year, National Service Animals Day is celebrated in the United States and throughout the world;
service and working animals, such as dogs, horses, homing pigeons, donkeys, mules, dolphins, sea lions, and other animals, have worked alongside and supported humans throughout history and have created strong human-animal bonds, including when—
during the Revolutionary War, horses served in combat carrying soldiers and transporting the wounded and critical supplies;
during World War I and World War II—
homing pigeons served as critical messengers with tiny message capsules attached to the legs of the pigeons that were used to send communications that saved the lives of countless soldiers, resulting in many pigeons becoming the target of enemy fire; and
donkeys and mules transported food, supplies, and wounded servicemembers; and
during the war in Afghanistan—
military working dogs safeguarded the lives of thousands of servicemembers by clearing areas of improvised explosive devices; and
as 1 example, Lucca, a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois service dog—
was employed by the United States Marine Corps for 6 years;
was trained to detect explosives;
deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan;
supported over 400 missions without a single human fatality; and
sustained an injury and amputation in 2012 due to an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan;
the bonds formed between law enforcement and military personnel and working dogs are so strong that the personnel and dogs have willingly risked their lives to save each other;
the tasks that service dogs perform for individuals with disabilities are essential activities of daily living, such as—
guiding individuals with visual impairments;
signaling sounds for individuals who are deaf;
retrieving items for individuals with mobility issues;
alerting the individuals about impending cardiac episodes or seizures;
turning on lights for the individuals;
providing stability for the individuals while the individuals are standing; and
pressing elevator and accessibility buttons for the individuals;
in addition to the help of service animals with functional tasks and missions, the human-animal bond provides handlers the ability to—
work confidently; and
shelter dogs can be trained as service animals;
service animals, such as horses and dogs, support—
a variety of health and therapy services, including for individuals with autism, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; and
servicemembers and veterans who experience traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder;
search and rescue dogs working with civilian or law enforcement handlers make communities in the United States and the United States overall safer when assisting with the rescue of lost children, seniors, and other at-risk individuals, including in the event of natural or manmade disasters, such as the support by service animals of—
search and rescue missions after terrorist attacks, including the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, and the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001; and
local search and rescue missions involving lost children, such as—
the service dog Mercy, a bloodhound with the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff's department, who tracked a 12-year-old girl for more than half a mile through thick woods after the girl went missing during Tropical Storm Elsa in July 2021; and
the service dog Gandalf, trained by the South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association, who found a 12-year-old boy who had vanished from a campsite in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina in March 2019;
the extraordinary abilities of service animals, including smell, sensing, hearing, eyesight, and empathy, make the service animals uniquely capable of helping humans, including by—
assisting with the identification of illegal drugs;
detecting an impending seizure;
hearing an individual buried beneath rubble; or
seeing an expensive or vital tool dropped by a naval diver;
service animals provide well-documented value to human health, safety, and security; and
the National Service Animals Memorial will represent a place of pride, introspection, and education to pay tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by all service animals and the handlers of service animals throughout history.
Authorization to establish commemorative work
The National Service Animals Monument Corporation (referred to in this section as the
Corporation) may establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to commemorate the heroic deeds and sacrifices of service animals and handlers of service animals in the United States.
Compliance with standards for commemorative works
The establishment of the commemorative work under this section shall be in accordance with chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code (commonly known as the
Commemorative Works Act).
Prohibition on the use of Federal funds
Federal funds may not be used to pay any expense of the establishment of the commemorative work under this section.
Responsibility of the National Service Animals Monument Corporation
The Corporation shall be solely responsible for the acceptance of contributions for, and the payment of the expenses of, the establishment of the commemorative work under this section.
Deposit of excess funds
If, on payment of all expenses for the establishment of the commemorative work under this section (including the maintenance and preservation amount required by section 8906(b)(1) of title 40, United States Code), there remains a balance of funds received for the establishment of the commemorative work, the Corporation shall transmit the amount of the balance to the Secretary of the Interior for deposit in the account provided for in section 8906(b)(3) of title 40, United States Code.
On expiration of authority
If, on expiration of the authority for the commemorative work under section 8903(e) of title 40, United States Code, there remains a balance of funds received for the establishment of the commemorative work under this section, the Corporation shall transmit the amount of the balance to a separate account with the National Park Foundation for memorials, to be available to the Secretary of the Interior or the Administrator of General Services, as appropriate, in accordance with the process provided in section 8906(b)(4) of title 40, United States Code, for accounts established under paragraph (2) or (3) of section 8906(b) of that title.
This Act shall take effect 1 day after the date of enactment of this Act.