NEW ORLEANS – Last week, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) welcomed its first facility dog, Karissa Justice. Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Meghan Falcon, who participated in intensive training, will serve as Karissa’s primary caretaker after being matched with her by Canine Companions®.
District Attorney Jason Williams said, “We are so grateful to Canine Companions and ADA Falcon for making this union possible. Karissa’s arrival has been highly anticipated since we first learned OPDA had been selected. Much like our dedicated staff members, Karissa came through our doors and immediately hit the ground running, applying her acquired expertise in soothing, compassion and empathy. Her presence has lifted spirits around our building and we expect she will do the same for the survivors and witnesses we serve. Animals have the innate ability to break down barriers and facilitate meaningful connections for those in traumatic circumstances. Our office is always looking for new ways to provide support and I look forward to seeing the impact of Karissa’s presence in establishing an important dialogue in stressful situations.”
Provided to us free of charge by Canine Companions, Karissa is highly trained to assist people with special needs and can help keep traumatized victims and witnesses’ calm. Meghan and Karissa spent a week in Texas working with professional Canine Companion instructors receiving the required in-person training and learning the best way to utilize her amazing abilities. Training is ongoing, and our team will provide full support as Karissa settles in as the official facility dog for OPDA.
ADA Meghan Falcon said, “I’m ecstatic to have this opportunity to bring Karissa back to the DA’s Office and help our victims and witnesses feel comfortable during traumatic processes.”
Canine Companions is leading the service dog industry so people with disabilities can live with greater independence. Since 1975, Canine Companions has bred, raised and expertly trained service dogs in 45 cues designed to assist people with disabilities or to motivate and inspire clients with special needs, as well as provide comfort to people during a traumatic time.
Join us in welcoming Karissa Justice to the DA’s Office.