|Image via gothamist.com|
"As a prosecutor, I feel obligated to do everything I can to make it easier for victims of crime, who must constantly relive what was likely the most physically, psychologically and emotionally traumatizing experience of their lives as they go through the criminal justice process," said Donovan. "There is something magical about the presence or touch of a loving dog that helps victims forget their pain and fear, if just for a moment, and be able to concentrate on moving forward and healing."
Bronskey will be available to sit by crime victims during their interviews with prosecutors. Eventually, prosecutors hope Bronksey can go into the witness box out of view of the jury.
According to the DA's office: "Just last week, a 12-year-old boy was waiting to testify to a Staten Island Grand Jury about the abuse he suffered at the hands of a relative. The boy was visibly anxious and scared. But when Bronksey approached, the boy immediately smiled and began to play with the dog—and seemed to forget the horrible experience he was about to relay to the Grand Jury."
Bronksey was donated to the office by Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a non-profit organization that breeds, trains, and places dogs for a variety of uses, including as therapy dogs and assistance dogs for the disabled. Normally the cost of breeding, raising and training such a pup can reach $45,000, according to CCI.
Debra Dougherty, the Executive Director at Canine Companions for Independence, told NBC 4 New York that therapy dogs have been shown to help victims remember details more clearly and make them more willing to cooperate with legal authorities.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, gothamist.com and online.wsj.com