Johnston County 'hires' dog to comfort courtroom victims, witnesses
Posted June 19
Updated June 20
Johnston County, N.C. — A new staff member at a Johnston County courthouse is furry and four-legged -- and she just might change the lives of victims and witnesses in the courtroom.
Teghan will be North Carolina's first courthouse facility dog fully funded by local businesses, officials with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday. Multiple companies have already signed up to help cover Teghan's adoption costs and training classes, and Dr. Mike Bagley of Clayton Animal Hospital has agreed to provide all of the new hire's veterinary care and grooming needs.
Assistant District Attorney Jordan Ford will be Teghan’s primary caretaker.
Once her courtroom "shifts" start, Teghan will be responsible for comforting and supporting child and adult witnesses and victims while they give difficult testimonies.
“Children, in particular, will benefit from Teghan’s ability to provide emotional support as they confront the tragic details of abuse they have suffered in the past," said Susan Doyle, the Johnston County District Attorney. "We hope Teghan can help our office promote justice through compassion by providing comfort and lots of love to those in need."
Teghan is named in memory of Teghan Skiba, a four-year-old tortured and murdered by Jonathan Richardson in 2010. Richardson is currently on death row in Central Prison.
“After much discussion in our office, and with the blessing of Teghan Skiba’s grandparents, we could think of no better way to honor her memory," said Doyle.