One of the volunteers from the Prosecutor’s Court Therapy Dog Program was recognized for her work by the San Diego Crime Commission at their 10th Annual Senior Volunteer Awards Luncheon. Janet Kinnon, 60, and her dog Wellington (“Welly”) are volunteers with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office Dog Program, which provides support and comfort to minors who have been victims of physical abuse. and sexual and other vulnerable victims or witnesses. Janet and Welly joined the program in 2015 and have since supported countless victims. Since 2017, Janet and Wellington have helped 45 victims and provided nearly 250 hours of volunteer service. [COMPARTE EN TWITTER]
“For abused minors, testifying in court against their abuser is scary because they have to confront their abuser and describe the horrors they have faced in front of complete strangers,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Thanks to volunteers like Janet and her dog, Wellington, victims find the courage to go through the court process and have an incredible extra layer of support.”
Janet and Welly’s work begins before the victim or witness reaches the courtroom. They meet the victim or witness in the waiting room and sit with them for many hours during interviews, keeping them comfortable with activities that involve the dog. In court, Janet and Welly accompany the victim or witness to court, sitting at the feet of the witnesses as they testify.
The San Diego County Attorney’s Office was one of the first prosecution offices in the country to use a therapy dog in 2007, and officially established the Court Dogs Program in 2009. The program has grown to include 13 dogs, each with an experienced volunteer, the dog owner, who leads the dog. Learn more about the Dogs for the Court program at this video .