1989: A retired Seeing-Eye dog Sheba assisted child sexual-abuse victims in the Special Victims Bureau of the Queens, NY, District Attorney’s Office.
1990: Vachess, a German Shepherd, made a courtroom appearance at the feet of a 5-year-old girl in a preliminary hearing in Rankin County, MS.
2003: Jeeter, a golden Labrador Retriever service dog, accompanied twin sisters into King County Superior Court during competency hearings and trial testimony. Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ellen O’Neill-Stephens decided to institutionalize the practice of incorporating assistance dogs into the investigation and prosecution of crimes to provide emotional support to everyone during this process.
2004: Canine Companions for Independence became the first assistance dog organization to place a facility dog (Ellie, a Labrador retriever mix) to work in a prosecutor’s office, in Seattle.
2008: Celeste Walsen DVM joined forces with Ellen O’Neill-Stephens to create Courthouse Dogs LLC.
2012: Courthouse Dogs LLC became Courthouse Dogs Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.