DOGS HAVE THEIR DAY IN LISMORE COURT
Victims and witnesses at Lismore Courthouse will soon have the support of therapy dogs lending a floppy ear and a friendly paw, Member for Lismore Thomas George said today.
Mr George welcomed the announcement by Attorney General Mark Speakman that Lismore Court is among nine locations chosen after the howling success of the Canine Court Companion pilot at Manly Local Court.
“I am very excited court users in Lismore will benefit from this positive program. The results clearly show having a calming canine in the courthouse really makes a huge difference to people’s experience at court,” Mr George said.
“Victims and witnesses aren’t the only court users who reported feeling less stressed and anxious. Lawyers, police and court staff also felt the benefit of the scientifically recognised phenomenon, ‘the pet effect’.”
Lismore is one of 10 locations to introduce the Therapy Dog program. The other locations are: Manly, Campbelltown, Goulburn, Burwood, Gosford, Nowra, Orange, Sutherland and Taree.
Volunteers will visit Lismore Courthouse with their dogs on one or more mornings a week. At Manly, a variety of dogs have taken part in the program from a tiny Miniature Poodle to a giant Bernese Mountain Dog.
“The therapy dog program is paws down one of the most popular programs trialled in NSW courts. But it wouldn’t exist without the dedicated volunteers who paws their busy schedules, giving up their time so court users can lap up the dogs’ non-judgmental support,” Attorney General Mark Speakman said.
Therapy dogs are already regular visitors to hospitals and aged cares centres in NSW. They are quiet, screened for friendliness and temperament and are happy to interact with strangers.
At Lismore Courthouse they will be available in foyers, waiting rooms, safe areas and witness rooms. Qualified therapy dog providers can find out more about applying to provide the service at https://www.tenders.nsw.gov.au between 5-31 March.