Child Crime Victims Testify with Help from “Courtroom Dogs”

Dogs are very commonly used in a variety of environments to comfort people, assist individuals with special needs, and visit schools or senior citizen centers. More and more, though, humans are realizing the incredible power dogs have to comfort and soothe people of all ages and backgrounds with whatever their struggles may be.

In San Bernadino California, the district attorney has hired two very special new employees: black Labradors named Lupe and Dozer. The pair, two and a half and three years old respectively, are part of the office’s special victim’s canine unit. They were actually sworn in as employees on a California criminal law book to really seal the deal of their roles with the district attorney. The two dogs have a very special role in the office: it is their job to help reduce the fear felt by victims of crime in court. Particularly, the dogs help children so they can feel comfortable while in court.

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For most children, testifying in court is a very scary experience for them. Typically, children have never been in a courtroom before and they also have to speak in front of a group of adults about their experience.  Many children are victims of abuse and must talk about it in a courtroom, which can provide quite a bit of anxiety. Enter dogs Lupe and Dozer: they sit with the children on the stand, providing quiet comfort throughout the experience.

The pair has provided comfort to many children already, helping them to stay calm and tell their stories. Best of all, the pair has their own office in San Bernadino. While the dogs aren’t working with children, they head to their office for a nap or big drink of water while they relax. The district attorney says the program is a huge hit with children and parents who feel nervous or anxious about their day in court.

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