Dog Helps Child Testify in the Courthouse

Good girl, Maddie.

A certified therapy dog, Labrador-Golden Retriever mix Maddie, recently played the role of supporting a young girl testifying in the courtroom in Colorado. A first for a dog in the courtroom, Maddie helped the young girl reveal the details concerning a sexual assault case that she wasn’t able to communicate without the presence of the calming dog. Directly before and after the trial, Maddie and the girl played together.

Defense attorneys were concerned about the ability of jurors to remain objective and neutral in the presence of a therapy dog. To help combat that issue, Maddie was hidden at the feet of the testifying child and was not actually seen by the jury, even though they were informed of her presence.

Reading programs are growing in popularity in which children practice their reading skills with certified therapy dogs. It makes sense that man’s best friend would also provide comfort to traumatized children as well and help them give evidence needed for prosecution.

What do you think? Should certified therapy dogs be allowed in the courthouse?

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Source: Dogster and Aurora Sentinel

102 comments

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran10 months ago

nice

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert3 years ago

Absolutely no problem having service dogs available to whomever needs them in a courtroom.

EcRo E.
ER C.3 years ago

SERVICE DOGS ARE ANGELS, ______

_____With LEASHES ON THEIR COMPANIONS___...___TEE HEE :-D

AND, YES They should be allowed in courtrooms.

Cheryl I.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you.

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Some of the children I work with have been sexually abused (often by family members or those known to them). With younger children especially, this experience frequently destroys their trust in human beings. Sitting in a crowded court room is not the ideal place to talk with them, even worse, to actually fire questions at them. This mistrust/fear of humans is not transferred to non-humans. In-fact the bond between child and say a dog or cat is often strengthened. The first (obvious) question we should ask is “do we want the truth to be revealed as opposed to simply going through the motions of a trial that could end in the acquittal of the guilty?” If the child will not speak, we then need to ask “if so, what is the optimum way of achieving this?”

One method now used in the UK is to interview the child in a separate room with the proceedings conveyed to the court via CCTV. Questioning an abused child cannot be done by someone with just a qualification in law, it takes specialised training and experience with children. I have witnessed many occasions when a child rapist has walked free because the child refuses to talk to anyone in court. If the child trusts a dog (or any other creature) to the point where they will speak in their presence, then that must be permitted under conditions that ensure a fair trial. Using CCTV removes the need to hide the animal from the jury’s view as the camera focus is just on the child.

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn3 years ago

Children love animals, I wish grown people would learn to love like little children who are innocent towards animals. Once we have that love like children for our four legged friends, they will live longer and happier lives and will bless us in sooooooooooo many many many ways.

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn3 years ago

Yes, allow them in the courtroom. Afterall, having placed their paw on the good book, they always tell the truth.

Winn Adams
Winnie Adams3 years ago

Aren't animals wonderful . . . .

Sandra Penna
Sandra Penna3 years ago

great idea! of course they will help to calm the children.

Latonya W.
Latonya W.3 years ago

Yes it makes sense...............