Opinion | Sexuality

Why Dogs Should Be Sent to Court

Examining the case of Rosie, a golden retriever who sat beside a 15-year-old raped by her father.

When a 15-year-old rape victim from Poughkeepsie, New York, took the stand to testify against her father last summer, she wasn't alone. In the witness box, at her feet, sat Rosie, a golden retriever, who snuggled up close to the girl as she reported how her father had molested and impregnated her, The New York Times reported this week, and when the girl hesitated, Rosie pushed her gently with her nose and encouraged her to keep talking.

The father was eventually convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. But his team of lawyers are launching an appeal that could send this case all the way to New York's highest court. Their reason for the appeal? Rosie.

Citing "prosecutorial misconduct," the defense's lawyers say that allowing the dog into the courtroom was emotionally manipulative. "Every time she stroked the dog," defense lawyer David S. Martin told The New York Times, "it sent an unconscious message to the jury that she was under stress because she was telling the truth." Having a ...

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