Lacey Ambriz began her CASA journey 6 years ago, as a CASA volunteer. Her passion for helping children and their families continued to grow until she became a staff member with CASA of Cameron and Willacy counties. Now, she is the Communications Director and is able to use her experience to help spread awareness about the child welfare system by recruiting and training future CASA volunteers.

Another exciting part of her job is sharing it with my certified facility dog, Forest VIII. Forest was trained through Canine Companions and has been staffed with CASA for two years. His role is to accompany children during their family court hearings. He has been requested to visit children in their foster homes, children’s shelters and during their forensic interviews.

Forest and Lacey live in Harlingen, Texas. She is a part-time student earning an associate’s degree in Social Work. Lacy is a mother of three children and has a growing pet family.

 

 

Fawn Borden is a Certified Facility Dog handler with the State of Arkansas and is partnered with Roxy V. Fawn graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She has been in the criminal justice field for 10 years. Fawn began her career as a court liaison for Arkansas Community Corrections. She went to work as a Victim/Witness Coordinator for the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office in 2014. While there, she became a secondary handler for Barb II. Barb was the first courthouse dog in Arkansas. In 2022 PAWS for Justice was started. PAWS for Justice is a program, ran out of the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator, that provides certified facility dogs across the state. Fawn is the Assistant Program Manager as well as a handler for Roxy V. Fawn is a member of the Arkansas Children, Youth and Family Commission.

Fawn and Roxy were paired in February 2023 by Canine Companions. The program provides facility dogs that can participle in forensic interviews, police interviews, medical exams, prosecutor meetings as well as trial proceedings. These dogs have also been used in juvenile court and specialty courts, such as sobriety court.  Roxy is a black ½ lab ½ golden mix. Roxy has already learned to play several games to interact with clients and participated in trial prep meetings.

 

Susan Bradshaw is the Program Manager for the PAWS for Justice, a statewide facility dog program in Arkansas.  Susan is a graduate of Henderson State University with a BA in Psychology and received her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas Little Rock in 2002.  Susan was a Victim Advocate with the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for 11 years before going to work for the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator and the PAWS for Justice Program.  She is active in her church, is a Girl Scout troop leader, and serves on the Arkansas State Council for the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision, as well as the Arkansas Children, Youth and Family Commission.  She is also a member of Justice Facility Dogs US.  Susan has worked in the criminal justice field for the past 19 years.

Susan is primary handler for Barb, a 9-year-old lab/golden cross who was purposefully bred and trained by Canine Companions.  They began working in the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as the first courthouse facility dog team in Arkansas on February 16, 2016, and continued that role with the PAWS for Justice Program in January of 2022.  On February 10, 2023, Susan graduated as secondary handler of Roxy V.  Barb will be retiring in 2023, and Susan will be receiving a successor dog.

 

 

Michael Browett has worked for over 28 years in all areas of emergency services including law enforcement, fire, and EMS beginning his law enforcement career in 1999.  For the past 17 years he has worked at the Reno Police Department and currently oversees the traffic section.  In addition to his regular assignment, Lt. Browett helped introduce the first Canine Companions Facility Dog working in a criminal justice setting to the State of Nevada in 2022, Winter VIII.  The two work together providing a number of services to the community including assistance with forensic interviews, victim services support, peer support, and community engagement.  He is part of the leadership of the Reno Police Department’s Peer Support Team and is intimately familiar with the mental health challenges faced by first responders.  Lt. Browett is currently working with other Facility Dog handlers in the western U.S. to establish legal and P.O.S.T. standards for Facility Dogs working in law enforcement settings.

 

 

 

Kim Carroll is a Senior Victim Advocate with the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Olympia Washington where she is currently assigned to the Felony Domestic Violence Team. Ms. Carroll has been employed as an advocate with Thurston County for over 21 years, serving victims from a variety of crimes such as Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and General Felony type crimes.  Ms. Carroll holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with double majors in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Central Washington University.  She is also a credentialed Advanced Level Advocate by the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Recently she has been certified as a Program Leader by the Courthouse Dogs Foundation for the inclusion of Accredited Facility Dogs in the legal system in accordance with best practices.  Ms. Carroll often presents to local high schools and law enforcement agencies on best practices in the field of Domestic Violence, Crime Victim Rights, and the incorporation of a Courthouse Facility Dog in victim services.

 

 

Manka Dhingra is Deputy Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate. She brings two decades of experience as a prosecutor to her role as Chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee. She also serves on the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee and Senate Ways & Means Committee.

In November 2017, Dhingra was elected to the Senate by the constituents of the 45th Legislative District, the first Sikh legislator in the nation. Since then, she has sponsored and passed legislation addressing a wide range of issue areas, including: curbing domestic violence and sexual assault, preventing firearm violence, providing property tax relief for seniors and people with disabilities, prosecuting financial fraud, and reforming the criminal justice system with an evidence-based approach.

During her time in the Senate, Dhingra has helped pass legislation and funding to transform the Washington State behavioral health system, reorienting it around prevention rather than crisis response. She continues to strive to ensure that Washingtonians with behavioral health needs get the treatment they need and deserve.

As a member of the Special Committee on Economic Recovery, she is helping the state craft an economic plan to lead an equitable recovery from the COVID economic downturn. She also serves on several task forces dedicated to reducing poverty, reforming the criminal justice system, improving equity in state government, and providing a sound and fair fiscal footing for the state.

Dhingra continues to serve as a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. As Chair of the Therapeutic Alternative Unit, Manka helped develop and oversee the Regional Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court, and the Community Assessment and Referral for Diversion program. As a mental health and crisis intervention expert, she has also been an instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission for the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers to reduce the risk of tragedy and improve the response to people in crisis.

Outside the courtroom, Dhingra is a community leader and anti-domestic violence advocate on the Eastside. She co-founded Chaya, an organization that assists South Asian survivors of domestic violence and led the organization’s work to end systemic violence through education and prevention. She also serves on the board of Hopelink.

 

Jim Ha, PhD, CAAB earned a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from Colorado State Univ. (1989), and professional credentialing as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) in 2004.  After a 26-year academic career studying social behavior in several species of birds and mammals including dogs and cats, he is currently an Emeritus Research Professor at the Univ. of Washington. He is co-director of the University of Washington’s Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior education program. He has just published his first popular book, Dog Behavior: Modern Science and Our Canine Companions, with his co-author Tracy Campion, and is working on his next book with his wife, Dr. Renee Ha, on dog breed differences.

 

 

 

 

Renee Ha PhD is currently a Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology (Animal Behavior Program) at the University of Washington where she has taught courses in animal behavior, animal learning, statistics, introductory psychology, and developmental psychology. Dr. Ha previously co-authored a textbook about statistics for the social and behavioral sciences. She is also the co-developer (along with Dr. James Ha) of a Certificate Program in Applied Animal Behavior at the University of Washington, a program that has a focus on Companion Animals. In 2017, this program won a National award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association as an “Outstanding Credit Program”.

 

 

Jody Hawthorne and Facility Dog Daze became partners in May 2016.  At that time, Jody was working as a manager at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Pierce County.  She graduated from Arizona State University with a master’s degree in social work in 1989.  Jody has 34 years professional experience providing care and support to victims of child abuse. The last 7 years have been with facility dog Daze at her side, the furry partner on the multidisciplinary team.  This collaboration has enhanced the quality of care for a vulnerable population.

Jody and Daze have worked together at two Child Advocacy Centers. Differences in the centers and job positions have resulted in a variety of opportunities for both of their skills.   Over 1000 children and their families have benefited from comfort and support of Facility Dog Daze.  When they are not at work, Daze and Jody take walks, hike, hang out in the yard and of course, play ball.

 

 

Jonathan Izant started his volunteer search & rescue career with a Colorado backcountry ski patrol while in graduate school. After completing a PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology and a fellowship at the Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle he became an Assistant Professor of Genetics at Yale Medical School. Dr. Izant subsequently moved to Sydney Australia to establish a Johnson & Johnson gene therapy institute and then to Brisbane as Executive Director of an interdisciplinary biomedical institute at Queensland University of Technology before becoming the Deputy Director of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Retirement provided time to combine a lifelong passion for dogs with community service and he joined King County Search Dogs in 2015 where he is Board Secretary and Chair of Communications and Fundraising. Jon and his flat-coated retriever ‘Lincoln’ have regional and national certifications in wilderness airscent and human remains detection. Lincoln received the AKC 2022 Search & Rescue Award for Canine Excellence for his success finding elderly at-risk subjects.

 

 

Mark Kloehn has been a Washington State Certified Sexual Assault and Crime Victim Advocate for Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW) in Spokane, Wa. since 2010.

Mark began his career with LCSNW as their Education and Prevention Specialist. A role that threw him into a world of public speaking and event organizing to raise awareness of sexual violence and LCSNW’s services. Since then Mark has held several roles with LCSNW transitioning into providing direct services to all victims of traumatic crimes. As a community-based victim advocate, Mark answers their 24/7 sexual assault crisis line, responds to hospitals when sexual assault victims present there for a sexual assault forensic exam, helps victim/survivors navigate the civil and criminal justices systems, safety plans with them, and provide ongoing support to them for as long as they choose to access services. In 2018 Mark became the handler and caregiver of a courthouse facility dog named Walker. Currently, Mark and Walker can be found partnering with the Spokane Police Department to support victims of cold cases that are being reopened due to the testing of backlogged sexual assault kits. He also goes on lots of walks.

 

Tamara Martin has spent over 35 years in the criminal justice system, having worked with both offenders and victims.  Tamara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Auburn University at Montgomery. Tamara began her professional career counseling and advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Starting in 1992 and continuing for 21 years, Tamara was employed as a Probation Officer for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.  Following her retirement in 2013, she began the first courthouse facility dog program in Alabama. In May 2014, Tamara was placed with facility dog Willow, a graduate of Canine Companion for Independence. Due to Willow and Tamara being the only courthouse Facility Dog team in Alabama for four years, Willow has assisted with cases all over the state.  Tamara and Willow were instrumental in starting HERO, Alabama’s statewide facility dog program, which is the first statewide program in the country. Tamara currently serves as the Grant Administrator and Facility Dog Handler for the Office of Prosecution Services in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

 

 

Marc Mays is a Probation Officer and Facility Dog Handler for the Wyandot County Common Pleas Court in Ohio. Marc has spent his adult life working in the public safety sector in Wyandot County. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and is actively completing his master’s degree in digital forensic investigations. In addition to his full-time jobs, he also served as a Volunteer Firefighter for 8 years and a Volunteer EMT for 18 years. Marc’s criminal justice career started at the age of 19 when he was hired as a Corrections Officer and Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff with the Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office. He would go on to serve in that capacity for 8.5 years before being hired as a Probation Officer with the Wyandot County Common Pleas Court in 2014. Marc continues to serve the court as a Juvenile Probation Officer, Assistant Adult Probation Officer, Assistant Criminal Bailiff, and Facility Dog Handler.

Marc became a Facility Dog Handler to Ned, a three-year-old yellow lab/golden retriever mix in July of 2022. Ned was born, raised, and trained by Guide Dogs of America – Tender Loving Canines in Los Angeles, California. Ned serves Wyandot County in any capacity that is asked of him. He works in the courthouse on a regular basis with children who are in court for various reasons. Ned has worked with victims of crime, children involved in various types of cases, and even the elderly involved in guardianship hearings. Ned goes everywhere Marc goes, and because of this he is a big hit at the local schools as well!

 

Timothy Murphy began his career in public service as a police officer with the Burlingame Police Department (CA) in 1990. While at the BPD, Tim served as a patrol officer, field training officer, motorcycle officer, peer counselor, and SWAT operator. In 1998, Tim transferred to the Daly City Police Department (CA), where he served as a patrol officer and field training officer until he transferred to the Paso Robles Police Department (CA) in 2003. Tim served as a patrol officer, field training officer, detective, and SWAT operator while working his way through the ranks to sergeant and ultimately commander.

During his tenure on the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team, Tim worked as a team leader, assistant tactical commander, tactical commander, and ultimately as the team commander for the final three years of his team service.

Tim retired from the Paso Robles Police Department as a commander in 2018.

Tim was hired by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office in February 2019 as the Mass Victimization Advocate. In that assignment, he was responsible for developing a victim assistance plan to support and enhance immediate response and recovery efforts and establish readiness in response to mass victimization/terrorism incidents. In October of 2020 Tim was appointed Director of the Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center, where he served until February 2023.

In February 2023, Tim returned to his law enforcement career as a Senior Investigator with the Bureau of Investigation at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Tim also serves as one of the handlers of Edgar, a courthouse facility dog.

Tim earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the California State University at Sacramento and his master’s degree in Justice Administration from Norwich University, Vermont. He is a veteran of the US Army.

 

Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, JD graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1983.

She joined the King County Prosecutor’s Office in 1985 in Seattle, Washington. In 2003 and inspired by her son Sean and his service dog Jeeter, she pioneered the use of facility dogs, that are graduates of assistance dog organizations that are members of Assistance Dogs International, to provide emotional support to everyone in the legal justice system.

Ellen is the founder of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, a non-profit organization that educates legal professionals and promotes best practices for the use of these dogs during the investigation and prosecution of crimes. She is the primary handler for facility dog Mona, trained by America’s Vet Dogs.

 

Kellie Pendras has worked at the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office since 2004 and where she currently supervises the General Trial Unit.  She spent 8 years in the Special Assault Unit trying felony domestic violence and child sexual abuse cases.  She has worked with a courthouse dog since 2010 beginning with Kerris, who was joined by Lovely in 2020.  Kellie received her BA in English from the University of Puget Sound and her MA and law degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Promislow began his career in biology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He completed his doctoral work in evolutionary biology with Paul Harvey at Oxford University. After post-doctoral work in Paris, at Queen’s University in Ontario, and at the University of Minnesota, in 1995 he joined the faculty in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia. Daniel moved to the University of Washington in July 2013, where he is professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Biology. Daniel is broadly interested in evolutionary genetics, with a particular focus on projects related to aging, as well as studies on sexual selection, natural genetic variation, networks, and metabolomics. Daniel is the Principal Investigator of the Dog Aging Project , an NIH-funded long-term longitudinal study of the biological and environmental determinants of healthy aging in companion dogs. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys hiking, cooking, and skiing.

 

Celeste Walsen, DVM is the Executive Director of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation and assisted in the creation of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in 2008. Celeste has raised four puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions for Independence. One of those puppies was Jeeter’s sister Junie, who also became a service dog. Celeste also served on the board of directors for the non-profit organization Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue.

Celeste graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in psychology and obtained her degree in veterinary medicine from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Celeste facilitates the scientific research in this field between the assistance dog organizations, the academic community, the courthouse facility dog handlers, and the Courthouse Dogs Foundation.

Celeste provides expert advice on best practices for the successful incorporation of a facility dog into office, child advocacy center, and courthouse settings.

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