A therapy dog program that eases stress for Goulburn Court users will be extended for a further 12 months, Attorney General Mark Speakman and Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman MP announced on Friday.
"The Canine Court Companion Program has received overwhelming support and I'm pleased victims of crime, lawyers and police will be among those who continue to enjoy the benefits of pet therapy," Mr Speakman said.
The NSW Government will continue to fund Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to keep the service operating in 10 locations in metropolitan and regional NSW until July 2020. The dogs attend Goulburn Courthouse three days a week, patrolling foyers, waiting rooms, safe rooms and witness rooms.
"The specially-trained Labradors have won hearts at Goulburn Courthouse and provided significant comfort to people feeling anxious or overwhelmed," Mrs Tuckerman said.
"Victims and witnesses have reported feeling more calm and focused after spending time with the placid pooches, making it easier for them to give evidence."
Over the past year, the NSW Government has gradually introduced the Canine Court Companion program in partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/Act at courts in Burwood, Campbelltown, Gosford, Goulburn, Lismore, Nowra, Orange, Sutherland and Wagga Wagga. The program also continues to operate at Manly, where court therapy dogs were first trialled in 2017.
READ ALSO: Sisters Cities - are doing it for themselves
"Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is excited the NSW Government has extended this important partnership, with our therapy dogs and volunteers looking forward to providing comfort and companionship to hundreds more courts users," Dale Cleaver, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT said.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is best known for providing Guide Dogs and other mobility aids to people with sight loss, but has been operating an expanding Pets As Therapy program for over 30 years.
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.