Friday, June 3, 2016

American Kennel Club: Canines in San Bernardino County Comfort Victims in Court

Two black Labrador Retrievers employed at the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office have been instrumental in making child victims feel comfortable testifying in court.

Dozer, 3 years old, and Lupe, 2 years old, work as part of a Special Victims Canine Unit, comforting victims during the court process by sitting with the individuals testifying in the witness box.
Dozer and Lupe work in the office with District Attorney Michael Ramos, in addition to their handlers, one of whom, Yesica Cioli, is a child advocate.

The two canines were officially sworn into the unit by placing their paws on a California criminal law book, last August, according to PBS.

Since then, both Dozer and Lupe have had significant success with the victims they have assisted.
Dozer worked in a juvenile court case last year, helping two young girls who are victims of abuse.

"I couldn’t be right there, where the mom is supposed to be," Pearl Curiel, the mother of the girls, told PBS. "But [Dozer] was. He was able to say, you know what, I’m not going to leave you... He is a superhero. Like, for my girls, I know he is."

In April, Lupe worked with two young boys in a mock-trial run-through. Thanks to Lupe, "[the boy] was able to relax, didn't have the anxiety, and he was able to tell what happened to him," Ramos said.
Dozer and Lupe are not the first dogs in the nation to help ease the pressure and anxiety of victims testifying in court. Learn more about therapy dogs working in the judicial system here.

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