Program pairing service dog with sexual assault victims on hold
COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A program that paired the youngest victims of sexual assaults with a service dog from the Columbus County District Attorney’s Office is now on hold.
The program started a couple of months ago. The goal was to use a dog to help calm and comfort sexual assault victims.
“This dog is going to quite literally follow victims through the criminal justice system,” District Attorney Jon David told us back in February. “From the time they first enter my office until sometimes a year and a half later when the case is actually being called into the courtroom. We’re going to have a service dog present to calm them and I think that’s a good thing.”
Assistant District Attorney Karen Richards was dog’s handler, but she is no longer with the DA’s office. David says he can’t say more because it’s a personnel matter, but confirms the dog is no longer there, because Paws4People assigned the dog to Richards.
David says his office is committed to this program and wants to explore getting a dog in the future, but needs to identify another ADA for the program. The dog needs to be assigned to a specific person who will go through the training and take care of the dog during nights and weekends.
The dog was primarily based out of Columbus County, but served Bladen and Brunswick Counties as well.