SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco court system has a new, specially-trained assistant to help vulnerable witnesses cope with their situation, and can do it on all fours.
The assistant is Faber, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever – a facility dog that specializes in soothing scared children and nervous elderly witnesses before they appear in court.READ MORE: UPDATE: 15 Injured, 20 Rescued After Fire Erupts Inside San Francisco Tenderloin Apartment Building
“The criminal justice system is very complex, can be very intimidating especially for vulnerable victims,” said District Attorney George Gascon.
Faber naturally attracts attention wherever he goes, and his handler says staying calm and reassuring to the witness is critical.READ MORE: Santa Rosa Police Search For Hit-And-Run Driver Who Critically Injured Bicyclist
“There’s often screaming and slamming and arguing,” said Phillip Prittimg. “People are very emotional and crying and he has the level of training to deal with that.”
It’s up to the judges on who comes into the courtroom and for now, Faber stays outside in the hall while judges get used to the idea.
Gascon said Faber shouldn’t be viewed as a prosecution tool. “Faber is not only going to be available for prosecution victims and witnesses but we’ll also make him available to the defense.”MORE NEWS: Two Die In San Francisco Shootings Early Saturday Morning
If the program is as successful as everyone believes it’s going to be, Gascon said he plans to expand it out to the juvenile justice system as well.