Promoting Justice with Compassion

Courthouse Dogs Foundation

Expert education and guidance for legal professionals

Courthouse Dog at work
Molly B at the King County Courthouse. Molly B was bred and trained by Canine Companions for Independence. Photo courtesy Seattle Police Department.

Educational Outreach

Fauquier County Office of the
Commonwealth’s Attorney
Warrenton, VA
April 8-9, 2014

Dept. of Social Services
Prince William County
Manassas, VA
April 10-11, 2014

Child Advocacy Center of
Bristol/Washington County
Bristol, VA
April 14-15, 2014

Children's Trust of
Roanoke Valley
Roanoke, VA
April 16-18, 2014

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Since 2003 courthouse dogs have provided comfort to sexually abused children while they undergo forensic interviews and testify in court. These dogs also assist treatment court participants in their recovery, visit juveniles in detention facilities, greet jurors and lift the spirits of courthouse staff who often conduct their business in an adversarial setting.

Courthouse dogs specialize in assisting individuals with physical, psychological, or emotional trauma due to criminal conduct.  These facility dogs should be graduates from assistance dog organizations that are accredited members of Assistance Dogs International to ensure that they do not create a public danger and are stable, well-behaved, and unobtrusive to the public. Courthouse facility dogs are handled by criminal justice professionals, such as a deputy prosecutor, a law enforcement officer, a victim advocate, or a forensic interviewer.

The use of courthouse dogs can help bring about a major change in how we meet the emotional needs of all involved in the criminal justice system. Their calming presence promotes justice with compassion.

Download a new PowerPoint by Dr. David Crenshaw -
Rosie's Law: Vulnerable Witnesses in the Courtroom

Dr. Crenshaw's References for Rosie's Law


March 2014 Featured Facility Dog Team

Napa County Victim Advocate Sal Alvarez and courthouse facility dog Tate
Victim advocate Sal Alvarez and
courthouse facility dog Tate,
trained by
Canine Companions for Independence

Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein has added courthouse dog Tate as a member of his staff. Gary is a vice president of the National District Attorney Association and a co-chair of the Crime Victims Advocacy Committee. Tate graduated from Canine Companions for Independence with her handler Sal Alvarez in January 2014. Sal is a victim advocate and his assignments include providing support in  child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse cases.

This is what Sal has to say about his new partner.

Tate is an amazing dog!!!! She loves the water when not on duty and loves to play soccer with my little one. She loves all kinds of balls and she is in the right place because in our household we all love sports and we do all kinds of sports. Once we put on her vest and leash Tate is all business she is the kindest most sweetest Lab I know. Just with her look she tells you that she is there to help. Tate’s energy just glows off her and brings joy & comfort to the people she meets. This is only what I have seen in such a short time and I know there will be a lot of special moments to come.

Sal and Tate welcome to the courthouse dog family!