Cullman Co. courthouse receives service dog to help children while testifying

Brooksie is able to pick up on all types of feelings, including fear and anxiety

Cullman Co. courthouse receives service dog to help children while testifying

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Going to court can be a terrifying experience for anyone, especially children. In Cullman County, they are hoping their new facility dog will help alleviate some of these fears.

On Monday, 2-year-old Brooksie was delivered to the Cullman County Courthouse. She is a Goldendoodle and specially trained through Service Dogs Alabama.

Brooksie is able to pick up on all types of feelings, including fear and anxiety. “We anticipate using her in every single court system that we have in Cullman County," said Judge Greg Nicholas.

Case studies show when a court facility dog is used in juvenile delinquency court, the recidivism goes down quite a bit. Nicholas said they are excited about that prospect and getting kids back on the right track.

Brooksie will also be used in family court. When parents are going through a divorce, sometimes it can get nasty and the children get drug into it all.

“Unfortunately, we sometimes have very contested custody battles where you have children who have to come to court and they are usually traumatized because of the experience they are going through with their parents,” said Nicholas. “Sometimes they have to testify so the use of a court facility dog will hopefully help alleviate some of that trauma they are already having to go through.”

Brooksie will also be working outside of the courtroom. She will be going to the Child Advocacy Center as well to help out those children who are currently going through traumatic experiences.

Nicholas said he hopes having Brooksie in the courtroom will help all witnesses have a better experience.

“Sometimes in the court system, we are here every day so I don’t think we fully appreciate sometimes how intimidating and frightening and traumatic even having to appear as a witness in a case can be,” explained Nicholas.

Nicholas said sometimes children who have been through terrible situations such as abuse and neglect shutdown and they are not able to respond to questions. The hope right now is Brooksie will help those children calm down so they can tell the court what they have been through.

If you would like to learn more about Service Dogs Alabama, click here.

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