Comfort dogs may soon be used in St. Louis County Court

Posted at 1:40 PM, Jul 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-21 13:40:18-04

CLAYTON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) – 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 people who need it.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says they often work with children who are victims of sex abuse.

“Tragically we probably have something everyday,” said McCulloch. “[Service dogs] are 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 soothe any kid who is in the courtroom.

Levi has only been with the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office so far. When a child testifies, Levi may escort them.

“Levi is part of the team now as part of the victim service unit, and I couldn’t be happier about it,” said McCulloch.

Lisa Jones, Levi’s handler, says just petting a dog can calm a child’s anxiety and fear.

The two were trained by Duo Dogs, a non-profit.