Cobern, Enya attend legislative event in Houston

   Texas CASA’s first ever courthouse facility dog, Enya II, who hails from Mount Pleasant, joined the ranks recently with four other four-legged specialists in Houston at the South Texas College of Law.

   Politicians, judges and victim advocates convened with courthouse canines and their handlers to announce a measure that would allow trained dogs to be in federal courtrooms to support witnesses.

   The Dogs as Witness Guardians Act, or DAWG, would give federal judges the authority to permit certified dogs to be inside courtrooms during hearings. The specially-skilled dogs were accompanied by their handlers and included Michelle Cobern, Executive Director, representing CASA of Titus, Camp and Morris Counties.

   U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas offered enthusiastic support for the legislation along with the law school’s president and dean, Donald J. Guter. Also on hand to back the bill were officials from the Harris County Children’s Assessment Center, Service Dogs Inc., Harris County District Judge Barbara J. Stalder of the 280th Family and Domestic Violence Court and Michael Schneider, former judge in the 315th Juvenile Court and founder of GIRL Court.

   April is nationally recognized each year as Child Abuse Prevention Month and allows advocates to provide valuable information on how to better serve young victims.