Last week, David and Louise Turpin received life sentences after pleading guilty to 14 counts each, including torture, false imprisonment, and dependent child abuse.
Some of their 13 children were in court as it happened, but the children had a trusty helper at their side: a 3-year-old comfort dog named Raider.
Raider has reportedly been working alongside the Turpin kids for months. As a facility dog with the Corona Police Department, Raider is specifically trained to comfort people without distracting them. The Labrador played with the Turpin kids, who range in age from 2 to 29, as they met with authorities involved with the case.
The Turpin home in California earned the nickname the “House of Horrors” for the unimaginably cruel abuse that David and Louise inflicted on their children. The parents were arrested last year after their 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window and called the police.
Last week’s hearing was the first time that the Turpin kids have faced their parents since the arrest. They asked authorities to allow Raider to accompany them, and the pup sat at their feet during the hearing. They took turns petting him, and when two of the children offered testimony about their abuse, the dog sat at their side.
One son spoke to the courtroom. “I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up,” he said, according to Inside Edition. “Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten.”
Raider came from Canine Companions for Independence, a group that trains service dogs. He is the first dog from the organization to join the Corona Police Department.
Raider is also part of a nationwide trend toward having comfort dogs for child victims courtrooms nationwide.
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