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Colorado adds its first courthouse comfort dog

Virginia got its first courthouse dog in February 2012 when Stafford County brought in a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever named Kahn, as staff writer  Katie Thisdell reported. Now, Colorado has taken the same step, and with the help of the same organization, Courthouse Dogs Foundation.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — When Amigo the golden retriever goes to work at the Boulder County courthouse, his important job of comforting witnesses and victims should come fairly naturally.

“He just has to come in and be a dog,” Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said.

Amigo began his job Friday after two months of training. The Daily Camera reported  that Amigo is the first courthouse dog in Colorado.

Amigo, whose name means friend in Spanish, is trained to be calm and quiet and allow people to pet him.

“We’re hoping he can be a friend to victims and witnesses,” said Kim Stalnacker, who works as a victim’s advocate in Boulder. She’s also Amigo’s primary handler.

The 20-month-old pup will don a harness with the seal of the 20th Judicial District as his uniform. His first day on the job included touring the Boulder County Justice Center, playing with his bone in the courtyard and getting acquainted with staff.

Amigo’s first case will be a sexual assault trial on Monday.

Boulder began exploring the idea of a courthouse dog in May. Garnett said he heard about the dogs at a National District Attorneys Association meeting.

A nonprofit organization based in Washington state called the Courthouse Dogs Foundation works with courthouses to place the highly trained dogs. The foundation has placed more than 40 dogs with courthouses and law enforcement agencies in 19 states.

Information from: Daily Camera,


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