A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally:
McHenry County State’s Attorney Offering Therapy Dogs to Victims and Witnesses
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs (M.A.S.T) to provide therapy dogs as needed to victims and witnesses that are facing the stressful ordeal of testifying in court.
“Testifying or having to answer questions from lawyers regarding frightening, humiliating, or intensely private circumstances of a crime is asking a lot of a victim or witness, especially if we are talking about children,” said Kenneally.
“I have personally seen how disarming and soothing a therapy dog can be, offering companionship and comfort without judgment.”
It has been well-documented that therapy animals decrease feelings of isolation, reduce distress and boredom, and help lower blood pressure. Stroking an animal also promotes the release of hormones like serotonin and oxytocin to help elevate mood. Generally, when you are able to reduce stress and anxiety, it is much easier for people to communicate and tell their story.
The State’s Attorney’s Office is indebted to M.A.S.T who is providing these therapy dogs free of charge.
M.A.S.T. provides charitable and supportive services to comfort crime victims and witnesses; current and former members of the armed forces; and those in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and disaster areas.
M.A.S.T. procures and trains shelter dogs as service dogs with the cooperation of Tops Training Center in Grayslake, Illinois.