OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6999

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF THERAPY DOGS TO COMFORT CHILDREN TESTIFYING IN CERTAIN CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS.

SUMMARY

This bill requires the chief court administrator, by January 1, 2019 and within available appropriations, to develop and implement training for Superior Court judges on the (1) healing value of the human-animal bond for children, (2) value of therapy animals in dealing with traumatic situations, and (3) benefits of animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy.

The bill also requires the Judicial Branch to maintain on its website information about the availability of an accommodation, at the court's discretion, for a dog to be present to provide comfort and support to a child under age 18 during his or her testimony in a criminal prosecution involving alleged assault, abuse, or sexual abuse of the child. The website must also provide contact information for organizations that provide, at no cost, the use of a dog trained to comfort individuals who have (1) experienced mental, physical, or emotional trauma or (2) witnessed or been victims of assault, abuse, or sexual abuse.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

COMMITTEE ACTION

Committee on Children

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/02/2017)