VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The Ventura County District Attorney's Office is introducing their new Courthouse Facility Dog Program which is designed to aid in the investigation and prosecution of crimes by providing crime victims and witnesses support as they navigate the criminal justice system.
The DA's Office said studies have shown that facility dogs provide both physical and emotional benefit to vulnerable victims, resulting in more accurate testimony in the judicial system.
Courthouse facility dogs are currently used in 38 states and in over 20 district attorney’s offices across California.
The Ventura County office's two new dogs, named “Star” and “Trakr” are black labrador retrievers who were provided by Assistance Dogs of the West, a training facility accredited by Assistance Dogs International.
Both Star and Trakr received over two years of training and, with their handlers, have passed a public access test.
Assistance Dogs of the West chose both labs to work with children and adults in courtrooms, public settings and facilities were stress levels are high because of their calm demeanor.
Star and Trakr will assist in interviews, case preparation, testimonies and sentencing as well as provide support to visitors and staff at the Hall of Justice and Family Justice Center.