When honoring our Victim Advocates this week, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the valuable work that our court facility dogs contribute. From accompanying victims to the pre-trial hearings, sentencings, trials, and more, our four-legged employees play a vital role in the lives of crime victims across Maricopa County.
Today, MCAO celebrates the retirement of our cherished English Labrador, Tori. After nearly eight years of service, ruffly 55 in dog years, the Maricopa Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to allow Tori to retire and live with her handler Victim Advocate, Mary Picard, along with her husband, son and Maltese named Kiwi. Tori has been described as an especially calm dog which is the ideal temperament for supporting victims through what is often an extremely intimidating process. It is estimated that Tori had a workload of 3 to 4 cases per month, putting her around 300 victims that she has helped during her tenure here at MCAO.
Deputy County Attorney Hilary Weinberg, who has been fortunate enough to work with Tori, stated that "Tori was not only helpful with child victims, but was incredibly calming to vulnerable adults and, in some cases, witnesses who were so traumatized that they could barely get on the witness stand." Weinberg, who primarily worked with Tori while with our Family Violence and Homicide Bureau, continued that she has "fond memories of Tori lying at the feet of her victims in the back of the courtroom, assuring them that they could get through the hearing. You always knew your victim would have a better court experience when the elevator opened, and Mary was leading Tori around the corner."
Tori came to us when she was four years old after 18 months of training at Power Paws Assistance Dogs in Scottsdale, where her siblings were also trained. In addition to her training, Tori's relaxed demeanor allowed her to find a successful career at MCAO within Victim Services.
In her spare time, Tori enjoys tanning in the backyard on the grass while staring at passersby strolling through the Greenbelt, which we imagine she will have plenty of time to do in the near future.
We hope that there are many Yappy Hours in store for Tori during her retirement and thank her for all the hard work she has put into helping victims through the criminal justice system. Thank you Tori!
Learn more about our K-9 Victim Support Program