DIRK SHADD | Times
Guardian ad Litem volunteer Brenda Kocher hugs Tibet, her courtroom facility dog, after a news conference for the Voices for Children of Tampa Bay at the Bungalow Restaurant and Bar in Tampa on Wednesday. Courthouse facility dogs train for years to provide comfort to abused, neglected and abandoned children who are facing the Dependency Court system. The dogs bestow a sense of calm to witnesses, which helps the fact-finding process because a composed witness can better describe an event to a judge or jury. Tibet is the first courthouse facility dog placed in Florida. Florida joins 51 courthouse facility dogs working in 21 states.