Trial Checklist

Courthouse facility dog Merlot, trained by Pacific Assistance Dogs Society in British Columbia, on the witness stand.


During the trial:

Make an Appellate Record of the Dog’s Behavior While Present in the Courtroom


  • Where the dog is placed in the courtroom
  • Efforts taken to ensure that arrangements have been made to either reduce or prevent the jury’s ability to view the dog
  • If the dog had any physical interaction with witness and if so, what type of interaction
  • If the dog engaged in any distracting behavior. If yes, then ask the judge to comment on whether the dog’s behavior interfered with proceeding with the trial in a manner that was fair to the defendant

Ensure that the pre-trial agreements are carried out

  • Witness and dog enter and exit the courtroom outside the presence of the jury
  • Jury instructions given at appropriate times- before witness testifies and/or at end of trial
  • Make sure the court makes a record of why they either allowed this accommodation or refused it

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