January 19, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

California to Allow Therapy and Facility Dogs during Witness Testimony

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 411, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), which provides statutory authorization for the use of therapy and facility dogs during the testimony of specified victims and child witnesses.

“Research has shown us that these therapy and facility dogs provide a compassionate way to help comfort victims during their testimony,” said Bloom. “Because of the positive effects that have been seen in courtrooms across the country, more participants in law enforcement and the judicial system are recognizing its importance and positive impact.”

Therapy and facility dogs provide both a physical benefit and emotional benefit to vulnerable victims, resulting in more accurate testimony in the judicial system.  A therapy and facility dog specializes in assisting individuals with physical, psychological, or emotional trauma caused by criminal conduct. There are several states, including California, which have case laws upholding the use of these dogs. In California, People v. Spence upheld the trial court’s allowance of a therapy dog to accompany a 10-year-old child victim of molestation to the witness stand, and in People v. Chenault, upheld the trial court’s allowance of a therapy dog to accompany 11 and 13-year-old girls when they testified.

Current practice in courtrooms across California includes the use of therapy and facility dogs; however, there are no statutory rules governing this practice. Due to the lack of statutory guidance over the use of therapy and facility dogs, it is up to the presiding judge of each court to determine whether or not a dog will be permitted in the court house. As a result, in the absence of a state law, child witnesses and victims throughout the state have been denied their right to use therapy and facility dogs when providing testimony.

“Victims’ rights attorneys, advocates and activists have fought to ensure that no matter where a child resides in California, they will have access to the use of therapy and facility dogs during testimony. Today, the State of California enshrined that right in statue,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

pupper/doggo
Photo courtesy of Fox Valley Humane Association
Related Posts

“Love Actually Live” – a Holiday Gift to You at the Wallis

December 23, 2021

December 23, 2021

Dazzling.  Remarkable.  Superb.  Thrilling.  Stunning. Spectacular. Glorious. Sparkling.  Sensational.  Glittering.  Mesmerizing.  Astonishing. Brilliant. Vibrant.  Enthralling.  Enchanting.  Riveting.  Fascinating. Innovative. If...

SMC’s “Broken Layers” Wins Best Student Film at The Emerging Filmmaker Showcase During the 2021 Cannes Film Festival

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

“Broken Layers”—a short film written and directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) film student Niccolo Rolim—has won “Best Student Film”...

Santa Monica High School Gets New Mural

November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

A new mural has come to Santa Monica High School thanks to Beautify Earth, an organization that connects local artists...

Getty Acquires 16th-Century Painting Never Seen by Public

November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021

Jacopo Bassano’s The Miracle of the Quails, 1554, has been rarely seen by scholars and never by the public By...

Día de Los Muertos Community Celebration Coming to Third Street Promenade

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

Saturday, October 30 from 5 – 10 p.m. By Staff Writer A Día de los Muertos celebration is planned for...

Film Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

October 16, 2021

October 16, 2021

Rated PG-13 90 Minutes Released October 1st in Theatres Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a sublimely cathartic experience –...

Closing Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month Today

October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021

This Friday, October 15, the Santa Monica community is invited to a closing ceremony for Santa Monica’s first Hispanic Heritage...

Sneakertopia Brings the History and Culture of Sneakers to Life

October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021

Sneakertopia is the ultimate expression of art and culture for all things sneakers offering a massive in-person experience paired with...

Review: Ted Lasoo Season 2

September 19, 2021

September 19, 2021

Rated TV-MA 12 30-Minute Episodes Released on Apple TV+, one 30-minute episode each Friday from July 23rd to October 8th...

Santa Monica Partners with McCabe’s Guitar Shop for a Reimagined Annual Concert Series

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

Americana in the Park, a New Free Concert Series Launches this September and October By Sam Catanzaro The City of...

Auditions Open for HVS Conservatory’s Inaugural Vocal Program

September 5, 2021

September 5, 2021

Hollywood Vocal Studios and Adreana Gonzalez are proud to announce the founding of Hollywood Vocal Studios (HVS) Conservatory—a post-secondary school...

Final Weekend of Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series With New Movies Added

August 28, 2021

August 28, 2021

WHERE: Marina del Rey Boat Launch Ramp, 13477 Fiji Way at Parking Lot #2 COST: $20 per vehicle, per movie...