EL CENTRO – During this year’s California Mid -Winter Fair and Fiesta, the office of the District Attorney held a contest asking children, under age 18, for help in choosing a name for a “comfort dog” that would be joining the office.
Hundreds of names were submitted by children of various ages. After seeing a photo of the puppy and careful consideration, the name of “Ginger” has been selected. Three children have suggested the name chosen. They arc: Riana and Joseph Gitz, and Megan Brinkman . They will be publicly recognized at the Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting to be held Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at 9:45 a.m. at the board chambers.
Ginger, who will make her debut at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors meeting, is a beautiful three month -old Golden Doodle puppy. She is currently in training to be the first Crime Victim Assistance Dog in Imperial County. Ginger will assist children and other vulnerable victims of crime to cope with the stress and trauma that is often the result of victimization.
“Ginger helps provide a comfortable and non judgmental environment during an extremely difficult and frightening time,” said Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert G. Otero. “We are excited about Ginger joining our office and what she can do for crime victims in our community.”
The Imperial County District Attorney’s Office join s other prosecutorial and nonprofit agencies throughout the United States to use dogs to provide emotional support for crime victims. Dogs like Ginger arc working in several l California counties, as well as other states. Ginger’s primary duties will be assisting children, elderly, domestic violence and sexual assault victim s before, during and after the investigation . She will also be available to accompany crime victims to court when they testify. Her role as a “comfort dog” will be just that, to provide comfort to victims of crime in Imperial County.”
Funding for the purchase of Ginger was obtained solely from assets seized from criminal enterprises, wh ile BU HS’ MLB Action Team has volunteered to raise funds to assist in the maintenance cost associated with having an animal such as Ginger.
Mike Burk, a local dog trainer, is a certified evaluator for Therapy Dogs International. H e will be training Ginger and her handler, Ashley Yates.