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.


Courthouse Dogs Foundation provides technical assistance and training for agencies that want to establish a best practices program for utilizing a dog to provide emotional support to people in legal proceedings.

In a Courthouse Dog Program:

1. The dog is a graduate facility dog from an assistance dog school that is
a member of Assistance Dogs

2. The dog’s handler is a professional in the legal system

3. The facility dog is utilized in such a way as to not disrupt legal proceedings
or create lega
l issues

If your agency in interested in developing a Courthouse Dogs Program, or wants more information on this type of program, please contact us.



Featured Team: Lori Jones and Lincoln

Victim Advocate Lori Jones and Lincoln

Lori Jones, a former police officer and currently a Victim Advocate in Fauquier County Virginia, applied for her first facility dog in January of 2013 from St. Francis Service Dogs. In July of 2014 Lori was matched with Lincoln, a beautiful Golden Retriever. 

In his very first case, Lincoln surpassed everyone’s expectations.  A young woman, who was a victim of sexual assault 4-5 months earlier, had been interviewed on multiple occasions but was too distraught to share what had taken place.  Lori then offered to bring Lincoln to a subsequent interview with the traumatized woman. Throughout the 20+ minute interview, the woman never stopped petting Lincoln as she shared her story. Even with the woman visibly distraught, Lincoln did not move an inch.  He had a job to do – and he did it brilliantly!  The attorneys shared with Lori that without Lincoln they were certain that they could not have gathered the information necessary to move forward with the case.

 According to Lori, victims have often lost their trust in humans due to their traumatizing experience.  A barrier often exists between vulnerable victims and the interviewers.  But Lincoln, and other Courthouse Dogs like him, tear down the wall and create a bridge that allows the victim to feel safe, comforted and able to share.


COURTHOUSE DOGS is the trademark of Courthouse Dogs Foundation
For usage information, please contact Ellen O’Neill-Stephens