Thomas Ramey Watson

Dog helps child testify against her rapist in court

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.

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