Tails are wagging and ‘pup-achinos’ flowing, with the State’s inaugural court companion dog, Zero, recognised for his ‘paw-some’ work.
The loveable Lab, who’s a hit with the ‘pup-arazzi’, has been awarded the Premier’s Excellence Award for Public Sector Values, recognising his commitment to service, professionalism, trust, respect, courage and tenacity.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said Zero is a worthy recipient of the Award.
“Zero has helped more than 100 vulnerable victims or witnesses, both during meetings and in the court room,” Attorney-General Chapman said.
“He is able to pick up on their distress, and then provide support in subtle ways, such as leaning into them, sitting by their feet, or looking at them.
“He helps vulnerable victims and witnesses relax, during what can often be a very difficult time.
“I congratulate Zero on his Award, with a big thanks going to his handler, Darren Evans, and all members of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who look after him so well.
“He has become a crucial and much-loved member of the team, who embodies the values of the Premier’s Excellence Awards,” she said.
Mr Evans said Zero will take the Award in his stride, but won’t be getting too big for his collar.
“Zero is a very hard worker. While he may get an extra treat in his bowl tonight, tomorrow he’ll be back helping those who need him,” Mr Evans said.
The Canine Court Companion project is an initiative of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in partnership with Guide Dogs SA/NT.
Protecting the community, including vulnerable people, is a key component of the Marshall Liberal Government’s Justice Agenda.