Tag Archives: Courtroom

Do therapy dogs in the courtroom create an undue benefit for the prosecution?

Check out this NY Times article about the use of therapy dogs in the courtroom. They are being used to comfort someone testifying about their sexual assault. In the article, it tells of the dog Rosie who provided a girl some measure of comfort as she testified against her father about his rape of her. She would pause or delay her answers and the dog would sense her pain and nuzzle her.

Seems like a good thing! But wait, the defense doesn’t think so. Each time the dog comforts the child, the jury sees her distress more clearly and develops sympathy for the client. Does such a dog sway the court toward conviction? The defense worries that the girl might be under distress from lying and thus the dog might aid her to tell a better lie.

I’m sure that these dogs are providing a wonderful service that ought to be continued. Someone with a bright mind will figure out how to have the dog in the courtroom and yet shield the jury from seeing the dog do his or her work. And other bright minds will try to craft ways to eliminate the dogs and give the defense the upper hand again.

1 Comment

Filed under Abuse