Companion Dogs in the Courtroom

Dog wins its day in court after defendant challenged canine’s presence in Akron trial

The Akron Beacon Journal recently had an article that begins, “An Ohio appeals court has rejected an Ohio prisoner’s claim that the wagging tail of a dog brought into an Akron courtroom to put a young victim at ease swayed the jury in the case.”

In the opinion, the Court of Appeals said, “[s]pecial accommodations . . . are often allowed for child victims of sexual abuse to minimize the emotional trauma and stress of having to testify in a courtroom full of strangers, along with the accused.” State v. Gutierrez, 3d Dist. Hancock No. 5-10-14, 2011-Ohio-3126, ¶ 100; see also Holder, All Dogs Go to Court: The Impact of Court Facility Dogs as Comfort for Child Witnesses on a Defendant’s Right to a Fair Trial, 50 Hous.L.Rev. 1155, 1158 (2013) (“Children experience unique challenges on the witness stand, and in response, they receive special accommodations.”).

You can access the ruling of Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals at this link.


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