Courtroom canine visits campus

April 9, 2012

Lori Stella, Dr. David Crenshaw, Kristine Hawlk and Dale Picard with Rosie

Taking the stand in court can be very intimidating.  Imagine how terrifying it can be for a young girl who has to face her alleged abuser.

In May of 2011, history was made in the New York State Court System when Dutchess County Court Judge Stephen Greller ruled that Rosie, an eleven-year-old golden retriever, could be with an adolescent girl, who was placed in foster care at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, as she gave testimony in a case of abuse by a family member.  Rosie, who is specially trained to comfort traumatized children by Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECLAD), enabled the teen to testify.

Rosie, along with the courthouse dog team that made this extraordinary and highly publicized event happen, were part of a special presentation on March 27 organized by Mette Christiansen (Sociology) and co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology, the Masters of Professional Studies in Humanistic and Multicultural Education, and Educational Studies.

Presenters Dr. David A. Crenshaw, clinical director, and Lori Stella, social worker, both from the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, Kristine Hawlk, Senior Prosecutor, Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, and Dale Picard, executive director of ECAD based in Torrington, Conn., discussed their respective roles and the preparations for the court proceeding.

Rosie also participated, walking through the audience and enjoying many pats on the head as she demonstrated the ease with which she connects with people.

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