Bella, a 2-month-old therapy dog in training, in December. The Florida Senate on Thursday gave the thumbs-up to allow such dogs in court for children testifying in abuse, abandonment and neglect cases, sending the bill to Gov. Rick Scott's desk. (File/WUFT News)
Florida House OKs Therapy Animals For Children In Court
By Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE — Children testifying in court in abuse, abandonment and neglect cases would be allowed the help of therapy animals under a bill passed by the Florida House.
The bill passed unanimously Thursday and expands a law that already allows therapy animals for victims testifying in sexual-offense cases.
A legislative analysis of the bill says that research has shown animals reduce stress in children, and three Florida district courts that have allowed them have reported positive results.
A similar bill in the Senate is ready for a full chamber vote.
A referendum on the November ballot will allow voters to decide if they want to replace the Gainesville City Commission with an independent board in making decisions for GRU. Wednesday, the commission and other community organizations launched a campaign against it called "No GRU Authority Referendum Campaign."