Hey Dog Lovers,
Today I talk about canines helping out in the courtrooms for children when they are asked to appear in court for numerous reasons.
Child abuse victims, they are often frightened and intimidated if they have to testify their experience in a courtroom. That is why courts around the country are allowing trained dogs to accompany them to the stand, easing their stress and anxieties.
“Courthouse Facility Dogs” lie quietly in the witness box, offering a supportive presence.
Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton of Kitsap County explains “Sometimes they need the leash in their hand. Sometimes they need the dog touching their feet, or sometimes they just need to see the dog.” In her courtroom a yellow lab named Kerris has been deployed numerous times to help witness often children who have been sexually or physically abused and would have a tough time testifying.
Breeds are usually Labradors, Golden Retrievers or a mix of both. They are usually placed with handlers who are usually prosecutors, investigators or victim advocates.
Defense attorneys have their opinions stating that a sweet looking dog can make the witness appear more believable and sympathetic.
Today 144 courthouses have dogs working in them.. In many states, judges decide on a case-by-case basis whether the dogs can be used in court. But at least seven states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois and Oklahoma have some type of law allowing courtroom canines to help people on the witness stand.
Training is similar to police dogs, they live with their handlers, who undergo up to two weeks of training. While the canine has already been trained and certified not to be disruptive in a public setting the handler needs to learn how to get the dog to perform as needed. Some people train them for free others charge fees from $3,000-10,000.
Thanks for reading dog lovers. Have a great week!
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