Judge brings therapy dogs to court to help young witnesses
FULTON (AP) — A central Missouri judge says the furry canines she has been bringing into her courtroom once a week since September provide a calming effect for young witnesses on the abuse and neglect docket.
Associate Circuit Judge Sue Crane says the therapy dogs that come into Callaway County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoons serve as a support system for children who come to court.
The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports Crane wanted to be the first in Missouri to introduce therapy dogs to the courtroom but St. Louis beat her to the punch.
The judge relies on a group of four to five regular volunteers from Ann Gafke's Teacher's Pet program to rotate each Thursday.
Gafke says therapy training for dogs improves canine mentality by giving them a purpose.