This Comfort Dog Kept Sequestered Cosby Jurors Company

Turks is the "queen of the courthouse" in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, according to her handler

A comfort dog arrived Thursday at the suburban Philadelphia courthouse where a jury was deliberating three charges against Bill Cosby.

The dog, named Turks, was there to spend an hour with the six alternate jurors in the trial, Judge Steven O'Neill said.

After O'Neill mentioned the dog, Cosby stood up at the defense table and made a comical, barking-like motion with his mouth. Later that day, the jury found him guilty.

The golden Labrador is a regular at the Montgomery County Courthouse, but Cosby's was her first trial, according to her handler, Montgomery County Detective Bureau investigator Kiersten McDonald.

Her job was to keep the jury in good spirits while they were sequestered away from their loved ones, she said. Turks made daily visits, McDonald dropping her off with court administrators so she wouldn't influence the proceedings.

Already the "queen of the courthouse," Turks was a big hit with jurors, McDonald said, judging by the fact that they bought her treats and toys that McDonald was planning to pick up on Friday.

"That was sweet of them because I know they had to send the [deputies] out to buy them," she said with a laugh.

Turks was added to the Montgomery County district attorney's staff in 2014, when she was 2 years old. She lives with McDonald and her sunny demeanor made the investigator love her job even more.

"She's just an actress," McDonald said. "She makes people laugh all day long."

Judge O'Neill requested Turks' presence himself, she said. She usually sits with victims who are testifying in trials. All three that she's participated in have been guilty verdicts, McDonald said. 

McDonald told Buzzfeed last week that Turks will usually snuggle next to victims who have to testify and that Turks loves her assignment: "I promise you she is the most spoiled dog that you will ever meet."

While the comfort dog is allowed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, a judge in Arkansas recently ruled that a law allowing child victims of sexual assault to testify while accompanied by a comfort dog is unconstitutional.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen determined last week that state lawmakers exceeded authority by passing the Courthouse Dogs Child Witness Support Act, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Attorneys for a man accused of raping a girl had moved to stop a "certified facility dog" in Perry County court from sitting with the 11-year-old alleged victim at trial.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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