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Council hounds judge about dogs in office

ne10GGOO_t600[1]South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s habit of bringing her dogs to work was never a problem in the old courthouse, but since opening a spiffy new one, Dorchester County Council members are squawking about it.

Amid rumors that there have been doggie “accidents”  inside the shiny new $13 million courthouse in St. George, the county council — though it lacks the authority to set rules for the courthouse — has instructed the county attorney to draft a letter to the clerk of court “requesting” that animals not be allowed on the premises, except for service animals.

“The taxpayers paying for the building don’t bring their dogs to work. Other county employees don’t bring their dogs to work. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m having to make this request,” Council Chairman Jamie Feltner said.

The request leaves County Clerk of Court Cheryl Graham, a pet lover and board member of the local SPCA  in an awkward spot, the Charleston Post and Courier reported.  “That’s mighty nice of the council to put that on me,” she told the newspaper.

“It’s a little bit of an embarrassment that it would be an issue,” Judge Goodstein said. Her dogs are well-trained and haven’t soiled the courthouse’s hallowed halls, she said. She thinks the “accident” rumor might have stemmed from one day when she got down on her hands and knees to clean a construction worker’s mud tracks from the floor.

The judge, who routinely brought her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Boykin spaniel and Airedale to work with her in the old courthouse — vacated earlier this year — says she’ll comply with whatever verdict the clerk of court reaches.


Comment from Carey
Time November 11, 2009 at 8:18 am

Do our lawmakers have nothing more pressing to worry about? Really?

Comment from Miss Jan
Time November 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Well just think of the emotional good the presence of dogs bring to the Courtroom. There have been many recent articles on this in both dog-focused and mainstream media. Out here in Oregon we have one Presiding Judge who also does this. They sleep under the Bench while Court is in session. Because Oregon’s economy is so beleagured and Court staff has been downsized with remaining staff furloughed off and on and everyone doing at least two jobs, I’m hearing that everyone’s stress meter goes DOWN with the presence of dogs in the Courthouse – stress is down and productivity on overworked staff is UP along with morale.

Legislators and city councilors and their ilk need to take a pill and start understanding what is really important to their constituents. Having the carpet cleaned at less than a hundred bucks sure beats paying for a staffer’s time out for a heart attack.

Comment from bluhawkk
Time November 12, 2009 at 6:58 am

The spirit of Scrooge BC (before Christmas) is alive and well.