Summit County celebrates therapy dog with birthday party

Victims of crime, including children, say Avery has helped them testify in court
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Today, Kayla Cash, a sexual assault survivor, stands tall and strong all thanks to the help of Avery.

Avery is a facility dog who sits with crime victims ― especially children — when they meet with prosecutors and testify in court.

Cash said Tuesday, during a celebration of Avery’s 10th birthday, that she was able to speak up back when she was 12 years old with Avery’s help.

”He gave me the strength to continue and to stand up against what had happened to me,” Cash said.

Avery has been with the Summit County Prosecutor’s office for eight years.

”The biggest point we have always made is that when a child is more relaxed they are going to be able to testify truthfully about what happened to them,” said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.

Avery’s dog handler Melanie Hart said she knew he would be great at this job because of his easy-going temperament.

”It has been a wonderful, wonderful eight years,” he said. “I wouldn’t change anything.”

Avery knows around 40 commands and has spent two years training with the Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit that trains and provides assistance dogs.

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