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Trauma Dogs in Court


Photo Credit: Kelly Shimoda for the New York Times

Psychiatric dogs have been in use for several years.  They routinely help vets cope with PTSD and trauma victims establish their lives again and now psychiatric dogs are finding a new place to provide comfort--the courtroom. Rosie, a golden retriever has recently been put to use to aid rape victims who find it distressing to confront their perpetrators in court. Notably leaning against an anxious person giving testimony, she provides comfort to those who feel  overwhelmed. Naturally, defense attorneys say that the presence of a cute dog prejudices the case against their clients but courts are beginning to feel inclined to use these doggie companions who make a difficult procedure all that easier.

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I tend to agree with the defense attorneys. By using "trauma dogs" the court has accepted the claim that something traumatic has happened, which may still be in dispute.

Plus, who can resist puppy dog eyes? I can't.
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Yes, it's the defendant who's on trial and whose rights need to be protected so that he gets a fair trial, not those of the witness/victim, no matter how horrible her experience was. She was able to testify to the grand jury about here experience without a dog. Now the difference is that the defendant is in the courtroom. For all we know this could be a master stroke by the prosecutors. I'm surprised that the judge didn't better consider this before proceeding as it left the case wide open for appeals.
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So we reinforce weakness in the minds of women. You cannot stand and confront your accuser. Here's a puppy to help you out.
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Really, bearfoot? you would have made a better point by saying that children are victims, too. Cases of male victims don't get to court as much. It's obviously not what the dog is intended for.
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