Courthouse dog program may come to Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Courthouse dog program may come to Honolulu

Dog in court Dog in court
Ellen O'Neil-Stephens Ellen O'Neil-Stephens
Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's courtrooms could soon be going to the dogs... obviously for a good cause.

Courthouse Dogs founder Ellen O'Neill-Stephens flew in from Seattle to help establish the program here in Hawaii.

The furry companions are brought into a courtroom to help victims get through difficult testimony.

In many instances, cases dealing with abused children.

"There have been many cases where the presence of the dog with the child in the courtroom can make the difference between a guilty verdict or an acquittal," O'Neil-Stephens said.

"Any program that would aid a child victim or any victims of crime in shepherding them through the criminal justice process, I think is very beneficial," Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro said.

Hawaii Canines for Independence helped secure the funding to train Pono, a "candidate" for the role as Hawaii's first courthouse dog.

There is no word yet as to when we might see dogs helping out in our courts.

A volunteer from the prosecuting attorneys office must first be willing to take the dog into it's home and become it's full time handler.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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