Special dog provides crime victims special assistance - KCTV5

Special dog provides crime victims special assistance

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

We all know the good dogs can do, from assisting the blind, to finding victims trapped in snow and ice and so much more. But, in Jackson County, some dogs are doing something truly unique - they're helping prosecutors put criminals behind bars.

How? By calming victims of crimes and assisting them in overcoming their trauma, so they can testify and put the perpetrators of the crimes behind bars.

"We have a lot of kids that have to come in. A lot of traumatized people that come in. It's nice to have this calm, comforting support," said Elizabeth Park, a victim advocate.

Park is talking about Carmine, one of the specially trained dogs used in the program. Carmine got specific training to give support. When KCTV5 visited, Carmine was comforting a young boy who witnessed his mother's murder. His help came inside the Jackson County Courthouse.

"Sadly, we need that very young boy to come to this courthouse and help us prosecute that case. Carmine has sat by his side every time," said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Carmine comforts children who were physically or sexually abused, witnesses like the young boy he was helping, even veterans trying to turn their lives around.

"Sometimes some of our oldest victims are the ones most put at ease by Carmine," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Caleb Clifford.

When he's not at work, Clifford said Carmine is just a regular dog.

"He goes home and he's an ornery, fun, playful dog, just like everyone else's dog. But, when he comes here and he puts that scarf on, and a victim comes in the room, something clicks. He is a calming presence that you see right now," Clifford continued.

Carmine isn't just helping the victims. He's also helping the folks seeking justice for the victims.

"He's my favorite co-worker. We think he is extra remarkable," Parker said.

"He has been my most loyal hire that I've made since I've been a prosecutor. He certainly does lift the spirits of this place," continued Baker.

A specialized breeder raised Carmine for a special purpose, and everyone he helps, every single day, couldn't be more grateful.

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