New legislation allows dogs in courtrooms

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) –- A new Alabama law has opened the doors of the courtroom to man’s best friend.

Governor Ivey signed the legislation that allows therapy dogs to attend certain legal proceedings involving a witness or victim.

The support dogs will need to be allowed by a judge, who would be able to use discretionary funds to offset the costs of the dog’s handler when used in court.

Hand in Paw director Laura Cardwell says support dogs can be a calming force, especially when it comes to children.

“It’s another opportunity to help people in need, to improve lives,” Cardwell said. “This is going to be such a great way for us to show that animal-assisted therapy can make a real positive difference in a situation where someone may not have realized it would have happened.”

Cardwell says that animals can change the environment of a room. Now, they’ll be able to do that for people in the courtroom.

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