Therapy dogs back at work in NSW courts

Dogs are back on paw patrol in NSW courts, offering free pats to people attending court.
Dogs are back on paw patrol in NSW courts, offering free pats to people attending court.

After a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19 therapy dogs have returned to work at NSW courthouses in urban and regional areas.

The labradors from the Canine Court Companion Program are back on paw patrol at courthouses in Manly, Campbelltown, Burwood, Sutherland, Gosford, Goulburn, Nowra, Lismore, Orange and Wagga Wagga.

"It took some dogged determination, but we are so glad these loveable labradors are back on the beat," state Attorney-General Mr Speakman said on Tuesday.

"The therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers play an important role by easing the stress of attending court for children, vulnerable witnesses and victims of domestic violence."

The CCCP is a partnership initiative led by Victims Services and Court Services.

Each dog receives up to two years of intensive training with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

A trial of therapy dogs at Manly Courthouse in 2017 kick-started a rollout across the state with evidence the dogs alleviate stress and anxiety.

Studies also show the dogs help lower heart rates, increased speech and memory functions and heightened mental clarity.

Australian Associated Press