A canine advocate is available to all Oakland County courts that have children of any age that will be testifying. Courts outside of Oakland County should contact us for special arrangements.

Upon referral to the program, a short interview will be done either by phone or in person at the court requesting assistance. We will look at any allergy issues or fear of dogs before accepting the referral. If the referral is appropriate and a canine advocate is available, we will meet the family at court. At no time will the allegations be discussed. If a canine advocate is involved in any meetings with the Assistant Prosecutor, law enforcement or agency, permission must be given by the client to ensure confidentiality.

A canine advocate will be introduced to the child and an explanation of his job. Interacting with him is encouraged by teaching the child tricks to do with a canine advocate as well as petting. We may also take canine advocates for a walk with the child prior to appearing in court.

If a canine advocate is not allowed to accompany the child, we will walk the child to the courtroom and inform the child that a canine advocate will wait for him/her after they testify. We will be available to help the child decompress after the hearing. If subsequent hearings are scheduled, we will also be available.

If a canine advocate is allowed to accompany the child while testifying, certain arrangements will be made. I will be seated directly next to witness box with a canine advocate on lead. A canine advocate will be able to be in the box if room and a judge allows this accommodation. If not, a canine advocate may be within sight of the child in the court at any location agreeable to the judge.

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