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Ramsey County Attorney John Choi introduces Norie, a laid back but highly trained golden retriever, as his office’s new “facility animal.” The dog will help victims and witnesses stay at ease through the difficult prosecution process. The animal’s handler, victim/witness advocate Bill Kubes, is pictured at left. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi introduces Norie, a laid back but highly trained golden retriever, as his office’s new “facility animal.” The dog will help victims and witnesses stay at ease through the difficult prosecution process. The animal’s handler, victim/witness advocate Bill Kubes, is pictured at left. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

Bar Buzz: Norie is here to help victims and witnesses

In other canine news, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has added Norie, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever from Helping Paws Inc., who is trained to provide quiet companionship to victims and witnesses to crime.

“Crime victims, especially children, are often under unimaginable stress,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “Participating in the adversarial court process can come at a high cost, and this program will make that process better for those who need the services of Norie.” The dog can work with more than one handler through the victim/witness division in the office.

Nationally, 13 courthouses across the country have at least one assistance dog, including the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center. Nearly 60 prosecutors’ offices and a handful of public defenders’ offices have at least one dog onsite to provide similar services. Due to the generosity of Helping Paws, there were no initial costs to obtain Norie. It will cost about $8,000 a year to support the dog which, given the difficulties of trying and appealing cases, strikes Bar Buzz as a bargain.

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