Rasta, a therapy dog from Platte City, Missouri, has been given an award after helping abused children testify against their attackers in court
The 4-year-old Golden Retriever was honored by her home town this week for providing unconditional love to victims of sexual and physical abuse.
The award was presented as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by Platte County officials.
This year, Rasta was given the award for comforting two sisters as they told a jury about the sexual abuse they suffered.
“What we have found is that having that dog present, either during a deposition or even while that child is testifying on the stand, that because the animal helps the child become more comfortable that we do a better job of eliciting truthful information about some really terrible things that may have happened to that child,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd explained to Fox 4 News.
“That’s what this whole thing is about, is about getting to the truth. And doing it in a way that hopefully does not retraumatize that child.”
Platte County is currently the only county in the metro area employing therapy animals to comfort abuse victims during a trial, hearing, or testimony.
Zahnd hopes more areas will learn from Rasta’s incredible example to help make the pursuit of justice less painful for victims.