HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Erica Barry
A new law allows vulnerable witnesses to bring dogs into the courtroom with them during their testimony.
So-called "facility dogs" provide emotional support for witnesses "whose ability to testify may be hampered or ineffective" because of emotional disability, intimidation or age.
On Thursday, Hawaii courthouse dogs Pono and Ollie joined Governor David Ige at a signing ceremony at the state Capitol for House Bill 1668.
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro introduced Pono as Hawaii's first courthouse dog in 2010. Officials say Pono helps child victims by providing a calming presence during pre-trial interviews.
Now, Pono and Ollie will be able to accompany these same child victims into courtrooms to help calm and reassure them during testimony.
Since Pono's arrival, prosecutors on Kauai and Hawaii island have adopted courthouse dogs.