S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N S E N A T E
April 29, 2013
Introduced by Sen. GIPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes
AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to providing
witnesses with facility dogs
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. This act shall be known and shall be cited as "Rosie's
S 2. Legislative intent. Testifying in court is an unfamiliar and
stressful event for most people and certain individuals are at a greater
predisposition to be impacted by the stress. The stress can hamper the
ability of a witness to provide testimony in a proceeding and interfere
with the truth finding process. It has been shown that when certain
individuals are permitted to have a facility dog assist them in a court-
house setting it helps reduce victim or witness anxiety. The purpose of
this legislation is to facilitate the truth finding process through fair
and accurate testimony. If in order to facilitate testimony that is fair
and accurate, the court determines by a preponderance of the evidence
that a victim or witness who is either under the age of 18, physically
or mentally impaired or a victim or witness of a crime of violence or
sexual assault could suffer emotional distress while testifying in court
that could impair the ability of the victim or witness to effectively
communicate, the court may order that a facility dog or the equivalent
thereof, if available, may accompany the victim or witness to the
witness stand or be visible to the victim or witness in the courtroom.
S 3. The criminal procedure law is amended by adding a new article 67
to read as follows:
USE OF FACILITY DOGS FOR CERTAIN WITNESSES
SECTION 67.00 DEFINITIONS.
67.10 USE OF FACILITY DOGS; GENERAL RULE.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 4865 2
S 67.00 DEFINITIONS.
AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE "FACILITY DOG" MEANS A DOG THAT IS A GRADUATE
FROM AN ASSISTANCE DOG ORGANIZATION ACCREDITED BY ASSISTANCE DOG INTER-
NATIONAL. A FACILITY DOG MUST BE PARTNERED WITH A WORKING PROFESSIONAL
FACILITATOR, BE SKILLED AT MAINTAINING A CALM MANNER, AND HAVE GOOD
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN A VARIETY OF ENVIRONMENTS. A FACILITY DOG MUST ALSO
BE ACCUSTOMED TO INTERACTING WITH INDIVIDUALS WITH PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL
AND/OR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.
S 67.10 USE OF FACILITY DOGS; GENERAL RULE.
1. A COURT SHALL PERMIT THE USE OF A FACILITY DOG WHEN, IN A CRIMINAL
PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE PROSECUTION OF AN OFFENSE COMMITTED AGAINST OR
WITNESSED BY A PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, OR PSYCHOLOGICALLY IMPAIRED PERSON
OR A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN OR A VICTIM OR WITNESS OF A CRIME
OF VIOLENCE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT, THE COURT DETERMINES BY A PREPONDERANCE
OF THE EVIDENCE THAT IT IS LIKELY THAT SUCH WITNESS WILL BE UNABLE TO
EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE IF REQUIRED TO TESTIFY WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF
SUCH FACILITY DOG AND THAT THE PRESENCE OF SUCH FACILITY DOG WILL FACIL-
ITATE SUCH TESTIMONY.
2. WHEN THE COURT DECLARES THAT THE USE OF A FACILITY DOG IS APPROPRI-
ATE, IT SHALL INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT THE FACILITY DOGS ARE USED IN A
COURTHOUSE SETTING TO HELP REDUCE VICTIM OR WITNESS ANXIETY AND THAT NO
SIGNIFICANCE SHOULD BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE DOG'S PRESENCE, NOR DOES IT
SUGGEST THE COURT'S OR COUNSEL'S ENDORSEMENT OF THE TESTIFYING VICTIM OR
S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.