Maine DA Wants Courthouse To Adopt Dogs To Calm Witnesses
No matter how old you are, if you have never had much experience with the law and court, testifying in court can be a nerve-wracking experience. This is even more true for the victims of violent crimes.
An Aroostook County District Attorney has come up with a unique way to calm witnesses who need to take the stand.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Aroostook Country District Attorney Todd Collin wants the county courts to adopt a dog that would be used as a therapy dog for witnesses.
While Maine does not yet have any therapy dogs working in the court system, it is not an unknown concept. At this point, there are over 270 dogs working in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Not only would these dogs comfort witnesses who need to relive traumatic events (often in a public setting), they could also improve the quality of the testimony. People who are not stressed or anxious tend to tell their story and answer questions in a much more concise way.
What would the cost of such a project be? According to Collins, the cost of two such dogs would be $8,000 up front (adoption and training) and about $5,000 per year for food and healthcare.
Collins reportedly had the idea a few years ago, but the pandemic delayed putting it into action.
The money spent would also help support a local business. If the plan were to be adopted, the training would be done by an Aroostook County (Houlton) business called Purpose Pups.
Arrostook Country comissioners will consider the request and then decide whether or not to approve funding for the project.