SA Canine Court Companion Program

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions commenced their canine Court Companion Program in 2019 in partnership with Guide Dogs SA /NT with the placement of Zero, a black Labrador.

Zero started by providing emotional support to witnesses in waiting rooms and meetings reducing their anxiety and stress. South Australia was the first state in Australia to pass legislation about the use of court support dog. Since the legislation passed in Dec 2020, Zero has been allowed to accompany witness as they give evidence from both remote witness rooms and the courtroom.

Zero is able to pick up on someone’s 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 be a difficult time.

In 2021, Zero was awarded the Premier’s Excellence Award for Public Sector value. The award acknowledged Zero’s commitment to service, professionalism, trust, respect courage and tenacity according to the Attorney General Vickie Chapman.

Sadly Zero had to retire from active service in August 2021 due to health issues unrelated to his work and tragically passed away in January 2022. Guide Dogs SA/NT have now placed Zeb, a two year old golden Labrador with the Department of Public Prosecutions. Zeb is already following in the pawprints of the legendary Zero and making a difference to victims of crime

Zero proudly showing his Premier’s Award for Excellence