Comfort dogs may soon be used in St. Louis County Court
Clayton County, MO — Dogs may be soon be seen in St. Louis County courtrooms. County prosecutors started using therapy dogs to comfort kids who have experienced trauma and are seeking legal help.
The first canine to sit inside a grand jury room in St. Louis County Court is named Levi. He was brought in to comfort someone who needs it.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says they work with a lot of children who are victims of sex abuse.
“Tragically we probably have something everyday,” said McCulloch. “They’re out of the way they’re not disrupting anything in the proceedings but they bring a great deal of comfort to the kid.”
McCulloch hopes that Levi will help sooth any kid who is in the courtroom. Levi has only been with the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office. When a child testifies, Levi may escort them.
“Levi is part of the team now, part of the victim service unit and I couldn’t be happier about it,” said McCulloch.
Levi and his handler were trained by Duo Dogs, a non-profit.
Lisa Jones, Levi’s handler says just petting a dog can calm a child’s anxiety and fear.