Compassionate Canine Joins Snohomish County’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court

by Janelle Sgrignoli
Lucy and Judge Dingledy

Lucy and Judge Dingledy

Meet Lucy.

Lucy is one of two highly trained therapy dogs in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Lucy has several important roles.

She provides support and comfort to victims of trauma and abuse. Lucy helps break the ice when children are asked to talk about sexual and/or physical abuse. She is in the courtroom, hidden from jurors, sitting with children as they testify in court. Some families also request that Lucy sit with them as they watch the trials of people accused of killing their loved ones.

Lucy and  Juvenile Drug Court staff

Lucy and Juvenile Drug Court staff

Lucy is also the newest member of Snohomish County’s juvenile drug treatment court. She and her handler, Kathy Murray, attend staffing and are also present in the courtroom. Lucy lies near the bench on her blanket.  She provides support for the youth while in the courtroom.

She also helps the team. It’s tough on the team members when a youth has not succeeded in breaking free from their addiction.  Having Lucy there helps ease frustration and sadness and keeps the team focused on helping every youth in drug court have the best chance of success.

Kathy, Lucy’s handler, is also developing a program that will allow drug court youth who like animals to earn community service credit by working with Lucy one on one. As part of the program Kathy will provide a short training session to teach youth about giving commands and proper grooming. Not only will this teach the youth proper handling techniques, having Lucy follow their commands  will also provide them with a sense of accomplishment.

We’re very fortunate in Snohomish County to have a Prosecuting Attorney that cares so passionately about victims of trauma, their families and our drug courts.

We are also grateful to Canine Companions for Independence, a private non-profit organization that breeds and trains dogs, primarily for people with disabilities, for providing Lucy.

 

Janelle Sgrignoli

About Janelle Sgrignoli

Janelle has over 29 years’ experience in county government including as Department Director of Snohomish County’s Human Services Department. She joined Snohomish County Superior Court in October 2009 as Program Administrator Specialty Courts. She oversees 2 juvenile drug courts as well as a family drug treatment court and adult felony drug treatment court. She’s a lifetime resident of Snohomish County and through her work is always striving to improve services for those in need in Snohomish County.