two dogs to “appease and free speech”

Ouchi, a golden retriever present to reassure the victims, with his companion Aurore Bourcereau, before the opening of the Millas case trial in Marseille, September 19, 2022. NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

NARRATIVE – Ouchi and Rancho were requisitioned to psychologically support the victims as well as the defendant. A “world first”.

When Ouchi felt that one of the victims was in need, he would go to her feet to appease her.“. Aurore Bourcereau accompanied the golden retriever to the Marseille criminal court on Monday, September 19. Rancho stood by the defendant’s side to support her whenever she cried. For the first time in France, two dogs have been requisitioned to attend a trial.

This hearing was devoted to the testimonies of the victims of the collision between a school bus and a TER train on December 14, 2017, in Millas, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The teenagers having to recount their memories of the tragedy, the president of the court deemed it appropriate to request animal psychological mediation to help them cope in this difficult moment. “They are not used to expressing themselves on the stand“, in front of a room with four hundred seats, moreover, in a “equally publicized trial“, explains Eric Moutet, lawyer for the civil parties.

A reassuring and anti-stress presence

In the back of the room…

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