Thursday, June 30, 2011
Rose the Service Dog takes the Witness Stand
via ABC News - An 11 year-old Golden Retriever named Rose is the first service dog in the state of New York to sit on the witness stand during a trial.
Earlier this month, Rose provided support to a 15 year-old girl, who had been the victim of sexual abuse over a period of four years.
Measures were taken to keep the dog inconspicuous. Rose was located behind the witness stand, and she could not be seen by those sitting in the gallery, except when she poked her head up to nudge the victim.
"My heart was in my throat," said Sherry Cookinham the unit supervisor for the Children's Home in Poughkeepsie that has been helping the teenage girl. "I knew at that moment that Rosie was doing her job and the little girl was going to be okay."
With Rose's support, the young girl was able to identify the man who had abused her. The man was found guilty and is facing 25 years to life in prison.
There are hopes that the use of service dogs in court could become a more common practice in New York and possibly go beyond children to victims of violent abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Photo by Dale Picard