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Attorney's 16-year-old Dachshund booted from courthouse

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MOUNT PLEASANT, TX (KLTV) -

A 16-year-old Dachshund is no longer allowed in the Titus County Courthouse according to a new policy.

Titus County Attorney John Mark Cobern said he has been brining Belle to his office in the courthouse for years, but a few weeks ago, he said his dog was part of a complaint. 

"I got Belle my first semester in law school. She studied with me all through law school and has been a part of my life. She's been with me 16 years," said Cobern.

Cobern said when he had his private law office, Belle came to work with him every day and that did not change when he accepted a position with the county.

"I discovered over the years that having her with me lowers people's anxiety," Cobern explained.

Now, 16-years-old and suffering from Cushing's disease, he said Belle spends most of her time resting near him in his office.

"She's part of the office. I mean, she loves going and greeting people and being a part. I think it's resulted in her living this long," Cobern said.

Cobern said Titus County Commissioner Thomas Hockaday told him it was unprofessional to bring his dog to the workplace and then created a policy to ban animals from the courthouse except for trained service dogs.

"There's no statute that gives them authority to ban dogs or affect my office or any other independently elected county official's office in any way," Cobern said.

The policy passed by a 4-1 vote. County Judge Brian Lee sided with Cobern on the issue.

"I'm not aware of any problems it's caused. No one has ever mentioned it to me. I don't even think about it when I'm in his office. That's how little that dog disrupts. My personal opinion is that if Mr. Cobern wanted to bring his dog up there today he could do it. I don't know what you are going to do about it because I don't think commissioners can regulate by law or by policy his right to run his office the way that he wants to," said Judge Lee.

Cobern says with the legality of the policy in question, he has requested the Attorney General's opinion on this issue.

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