WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — It was the first time man’s best friend was in a Trumbull County Courtroom to be beside a child victim while on the witness stand. He might have been laying down, but the dog, named Avery, was hard at work.
Assistant prosecutor Gabe Wildman says the goal of bringing the dog in was to keep the victim comfortable while testifying on the stand, and Avery did precisely that.
“He did exactly what we were hoping he would do in this case, which is to help,” Wildman said.
Avery is the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office facility dog. The 11-year-old labrador-golden retriever has worked there for almost a decade.
“Our ultimate goal is to help children — to help children who’ve been victims of some pretty horrible crimes — and if there is another county who has a need for that and Avery is available, we are always going to help out,” said Sherri Bevan Walsh, Summit County prosecutor.
Avery was the first facility dog in a prosecutor’s office in Ohio. He has about 50 trials under his collar, plus a number of other courtroom proceedings.
“We have seen time and time again the value of having a dog for the children,” Walsh said.
“What we ask of kids in these cases is almost the unthinkable, right,” Wildman said. “They have to come in, in front of strangers and a judge, we ask questions — by me be cross-examined — so that’s difficult enough, it’s difficult enough for adults, so any support we can give them I think is a great thing.”
“He has had so much value to this office and to our victims of crime that I think that every prosecutor’s office should have a facility dog,” Walsh said.