Dog Supports on Witness Stand
Wrenching as it was, the scene was not an uncommon one at a sentencing hearing inside a Brooklyn courtroom on Tuesday. A 30-year-old woman was describing the horrific ordeal she and her 5-year-old daughter endured for five months in 2012, bound by duct tape, assaulted and hidden away from the outside world.
As she recounted being assaulted and choked, the woman reached out and hugged an unusual courtroom visitor — a 5-year-old Australian Labradoodle named Paz.
It was the culmination of the dog’s role as the woman’s therapy dog.
Paz had been at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn regularly during the trial of the man convicted of kidnapping and assaulting the woman, who had been his girlfriend at the time, and her daughter. As she took the stand, the dog would wait outside the courtroom, available whenever the woman became too upset and had to leave the room.
But on Tuesday, Paz was lying next to the woman, as a result, a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said, of a recent court decision that allows therapy dogs to accompany children in courtrooms in New York. When the prosecution asked Justice John G. Ingram for permission to have Paz in the courtroom on Tuesday, he allowed it.
“That’s my dog!” the woman said outside the courthouse on Tuesday after Justice Ingram sentenced her attacker, Yohannes Anglin, 36, to 60 years to life in prison. The woman is not being identified because of the nature of the crime, which prosecutors said included sexual abuse. The defendant was acquitted of a rape charge.
Oren Yaniv, the spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the case was the first in which a dog was allowed to accompany an adult in a courtroom in New York City.
Paz’s handler in the courtroom said she hoped the case would lead to the broader use of therapy dogs in courtrooms.
MDC adds that the first service dog at a trial would of been LYKA, if a legal firm acted appropriately but was a total ethical fucking disgrace and mockery, stated by Steve Moskovitz.