Attorney wants court house dog banned - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Attorney wants court house dog banned

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Macy is a two-year-old court house dog.

Because of her special training, she can accompany child victims to the courtroom. A Longview attorney passed a motion to have the dog removed because he says it could potentially change the integrity of the trial.

"What you have is a child who many times is the victim of the most heinous of sexual abuses that you can imagine. So, they come into the court house confronted with sitting in a court room in front of 12 people they don't know, facing the person who is accused of abusing them," says District Attorney Matt Bingham.

He says Macy is there to help comfort those children when they take the witness stand. Kimberly Knighton now has custody of her niece, who is a victim of abuse. Her niece was just fourteen-years-old when she took the stand.

"When my niece came out she told me her heart was just pounding, but she knew when she knelt down and just pet Macy and could feel her heart beat, it would just slow her heart beat down and just go back in rhythm with her," says Knighton.

Kimberly Stratton's nine-year-old son felt the same way when Macy sat through his trial.

"He was you know, feeling better about life for a moment there"

A Longview attorney, however, drafted a motion to have the dog removed from the court room. 

"While certainly I can understand why this can be more comforting to anyone that's not how our trial system was designed, which is why I drafted the motion," says Jason Cassel.

"I think they think the juries are going to come in and find their clients guilty because there is a dog there sitting with the child," says Bingham.

"Certainly that engenders some level of sympathy for that witness," says Cassel.

"This one animal, if it gives my child that much comfort, how dare you try to take it away from him. How dare you," says Stratton.

For it or against it, the future of facility animals in the Smith County Court House is in the hands of the court.

Bingham shared with us today that Macy's last day in court will be tomorrow. Unfortunately, she suffers from bone cancer. However, this motion will affect the District Attorney's office because they plan on getting another dog to help future children through the judicial process.

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