Man's best friend comforts offenders in court
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:41:39 GMT — COLUMBUS (Tom Bosco/Sean Rowe) -- A Central Ohio court has one employee who's sole responsibility is to keep juvenile offenders calm in court -- and, he gets paid with treats. Marion County Family Court is believed to be the only court in the state with a facility dog in the courtroom. Judge Bob Fragale presides over family court, questioning juvenile offenders who are being reintroduced back into the community. He said the courtroom can be an uncomfortable place for the youths."For some kids coming to court is a very intimidating situation,â?? Fragale said.That's where Camry comes in. The dog is a two year-old Lab/Golden Retriever mix. It may appear that Camry isn't working, as he sprawls across the floor of the courtroom in front of the judgeâ??s bench. But heâ??s specially trained to sit in place for hours, behaving in court and offering comfort to youths facing the judge. His handler is Kathy Clark, a grant coordinator for the court."He'll sit down at their feet," Clark said. "They can reach down and pet him."Camry goes home with Clark every night. She said he knows 40 commands and will obey orders to lay his head in someoneâ??s lap and gently put his front paws on a personâ??s legs to receive a hug. Camry and his training could have cost the county as much as $25,000, but the dog was donated by a non-profit group. Fragale said the dog is invaluable."Our kids who come into this court seem to really warm up to the dog," he said.