Courthouse Therapy Dogs Bill Signed Into Law, Aims To Help More Victims Testify

May 12, 2017
Originally published on May 11, 2017 3:33 pm

Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law seeking to make it easier for more abuse victims to testify in court through the use of therapy dogs.

Under current Florida law, therapy dogs can only be used in court to help victims of sexual abuse. Now, Florida Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says the newly signed bill will expand the statute to include more victims and another class of dogs.

“We are expanding it to be permissive for children who are in dependency court for abuse and neglect. Also, we’re expanding it to include identified adults who have intellectual disabilities as a group to use the dogs in court,” he said. “And, we added facility dogs because prior it only said therapy dogs. Facility dogs are actually bred for the facilities, like hospice, hospitals, but also courts.”  

The new law takes effect July 1st.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Copyright 2017 WFSU-FM. To see more, visit WFSU-FM.