Illinois could allow dogs to comfort courtroom witnesses
By The Associated Press
GURNEE (WREX) -
Illinois could soon become one of the few states with a law governing the use of specially trained dogs in courtrooms to comfort witnesses.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports the Legislature approved the bill and it's now before the governor.
One proponent is Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim. His office in northern Illinois has a yellow Labrador retriever to comfort child victims of physical and sexual abuse while they're being interviewed by prosecutors.
He and the dog, named Mitchell, appeared before a state Senate committee to support the bill.
One of his investigators, James Magna, says children love to be able to reach down and pet Mitch and know he's there during sometimes painful interviews.
Illinois would be the third state with such a law.