Boulder DA considers getting a courthouse dog to comfort victims, witnesses during trial

BOULDER, Colo. - The Boulder District Attorney’s Office is considering getting a courthouse dog to comfort victims and witnesses during trials.

If the idea is realized, the judicial district could become the first in Colorado to get a courthouse comfort dog.

District Attorney Stan Garnett tells The Daily Camera he first heard the idea at a National District Attorney's Association meeting. A nonprofit organization based in Washington state called the Courthouse Dogs Foundation works with courthouses to place highly trained dogs in courtrooms to help witnesses and victims -- particularly younger ones -- during trials.

"I think it could be helpful especially for young people to deal with the stress of being a witness in a trial," Garnett told the newspaper. "They could be in the witness area, and after a tough cross-examination, the dog is there waiting while they're having a cup of coffee."

Garnett has formed a committee to explore the idea of applying for a dog, which would be cared for at night by selected staff members.

The Courthouse Dogs Foundation has placed 41 dogs with courthouses and law enforcement agencies in 19 states, including two with the Aurora Police Department.