The Ministry of Justice says that it is with “great sadness” that it advises that Louie the Tauranga Court Dog has passed away after a short illness. He was 10 years old.
Louie, a black Labrador, along with his owner Victims Advisor Gail Bryce, worked closely with children and young people coming to give distressing evidence at the Tauranga District Court. Louie calmed and comforted young victims as they appeared in court, helping them through the initial stages of preparing to give evidence and staying by their side if they needed his help in court.
“Louie just had a sense of when he was needed. He had a very nurturing nature and his presence helped let young victims know that they were in safe place,” says Ms Bryce.
“He touched so many lives, young and old, and really did his best to look after people and minimise their stress while they were here at the court.”
Acting Group Manager, Courts and Tribunals, Bruce Findlay says Louie will be deeply missed.
“He was a much-loved fixture at the court and he made an enormous difference to all those visiting and working in what can be a stressful environment.”
Courthouse dogs are a novelty in New Zealand, but not in some other jurisdictions. They have been around in some United States courts since 2003, when golden Labrador Jeeter made his first appearance by accompanying twin sisters into a courtroom after they refused to testify without his presence.
Read more about Louie here
Louie has also starred in the TVNZ’s Fanimals programme.