Lawmakers voice concerns over allowing therapy dogs in court

PIERRE, S.D. (KCCR) – It was supposed to have a green light to the Governor’s desk. Senate Bill 136, the bill fashioned by Hughes County States Attorney Roxanne Hammond to all certified therapy dogs to help vulnerable witnesses in court was certified for the consent calendar in the House of Representatives by the House Judiciary Committee.

However, that green light turned to red without a yellow after Rapid City Representative Tina Mulally asked for the bill to be removed from consent for an amendment.

Mulally also had issues with three companies that work with certified therapy dogs in the bill and the fact no database of certified therapy dogs was included. Representative Erin Healy of Sioux Falls urged lawmakers to fail the motion.

Representative Rhonda Milstead of Harford says the three companies listed that Mulally took exception to is actually enhances the bill.

A voice vote to approve Mulally’s amendment killed the amendment. The House voted 52 to 14 with four excused votes Monday night to move the bill onto the desk of Governor Kristi Noem. Prior to its 22-minute layover in the House chamber, SB-136 cleared two committees and the full Senate chamber on unanimous votes.