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New Jersey: Promote the Use of Dogs in Court by Victims and Witnesses of Violent Crimes

New Jersey: Promote the Use of Dogs in Court by Victims and Witnesses of Violent Crimes

Name: Allowing Victims and Witnesses to Testify in Court with Assistance Dogs

Bill Number: A 3729

Humans have an unquestionable bond with companion animals, especially dogs. Attorneys and judges across the country have discovered that tapping into this bond may help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that arise when victims and witnesses of violent crimes such as sexual assault and murder testify in court about graphic events surrounding the case. A 3729 would allow courts to permit certain witnesses who are under the age of 18, who have a physical, developmental or psychological impairment, or who witnessed certain violent crimes to be accompanied by a certified assistance dog during their in-court testimony. 

Eleven states have already enacted laws that allow attorneys to use certified animals, usually dogs, to accompany vulnerable witnesses who testify in court and more states are considering similar legislation each year.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your state Representative and urge them to support this legislation.
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Recipients

  • Your State Representative or Representatives

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Message

Allow courts to permit victims and witnesses to use an assistance dog for comfort during testimony in court

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for A 3729, which would allow courts to permit certain witnesses who are under the age of 18, who have a physical, developmental or psychological impairment, or who witnessed certain violent crimes to be accompanied by a certified assistance dog during their in-court testimony.

Humans and dogs have an unquestionable bond with each other. Over the past several years, attorneys and judges across the country have discovered that tapping into this bond may help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that victims and witnesses, especially of violent crimes such as sexual assault and murder, experience when they testify to graphic facts of the case in court.

This legislative measure is non-controversial. Eleven states have provisions that allow attorneys to use certified animals, usually dogs, to accompany certain vulnerable witnesses who testify in court, and more states are considering similar legislation each year.

I hope that you will give your full support to the passage of this measure in New Jersey. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]