Marion County sheriff's office has therapy dog to comfort victims

Credit: Tonya Brown/WPDE

The Marion County Sheriff's Office has acquired a therapy dog to help and comfort crime victims, according to Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace.

Wallace said Office Caj's sole responsibility is to brighten the faces of those going through difficult times.

"We saw a need for it. I can tell you where I saw it. I first saw a therapy dog was during Hurricane Matthew. When we had hurricane Matthew there was a big event at the administration building with actually therapy dogs there. to comfort people devastated by the flood. So that kind of got me thinking about so how about the sheriffs office having a therapy dog. We have children in all the time you have been a victim of i'm sort of crime. And kids love animals. And we felt like this would be a positive way for the community. To have a therapy dog in house," said Wallace.

Caj's handler Deputy Tammy Erwin said he'll be a great asset to the department.

"We see so many victims. Especially domestic violence victims. When they have to come in and fix their abuser coming in and face their abuser and bond court. And and they're so physically distraught. They're crying. They're shaking. And anything that can calm them that's what we want to do. We want to be here for his victims," said Erwin.

The department was able to get Officer Caj through victim's advocates funds.

Wallace said Caj has received a lot of love and support from the community.

"I've even seen a difference this morning in the officers. In the office with the employees. They're coming by petting him. Talking to him. It's just so much positive that come out of animals. And folks in the community they love animals," explained Wallace.

Wallace said his department has the first and only law enforcement therapy dog in the state.

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