The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has introduced a K-9 deputy whose main purpose is to help people who have been traumatized.
Bailey, a 2-year-old dog from a shelter in Brevard County, was sworn in Thursday morning as the Sheriff’s Office’s therapy dog. He received his badge and a hand shake from Sheriff Gator DeLoach.
“It gives us an opportunity to engage victims in a way we were never able to before," DeLoach said.
Sheriff Gator DeLoach said his deputies are investigating a lot of cases of abuse that have left victims so traumatized that they need something, like a therapy dog, just to calm down enough to talk to investigators.
“Immediately whenever he walks into a room with a victim whose been exposed to some type of trauma, you just see their whole demeanor change, and you see it has a very calming and relaxing effect," DeLoach said.
Deputy Kacie Reynolds is Bailey’s handler. She said Bailey is good with calming adults, but even great with helping children.
“It’s such a relief to see it on a child’s face and the happiness it brings out in them," Reynolds said.
Especially young children, who are traumatized at the sight of seeing a parent placed in handcuffs and taken away.
“It’s never pleasant for us, despite what people might think, for us to arrest someone, especially when children are involved in the home," DeLoach said. "Unfortunately, it’s a necessity based on the type of work we do.”
Bailey will also be used to help 911 operators who have been exposed to traumatic phone calls from victims.
The Sheriff’s Office said Bailey was shot before he ended up in a shelter, and there are pellets still inside the dog’s body.