SFDA Celebrates Pink's Second Birthday and Her Successes Assisting Victims of Crime

PLEASE NOTE:  Dr. Gena Castro Rodriguez, SFDA Chief of Victim Services, and Pink, will be available to meet with the media at 2:30 PM today. 

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 26, 2017

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:     ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931         |        MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089

SFDA CELEBRATES PINK’S SECOND BIRTHDAY & HER SUCCESSES ASSISTING VICTIMS OF CRIME

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón was joined by members of the victim services team to honor Pink, one of SFDA’s four-legged specialists who works to mitigate the stress and trauma that can accompany victimization, for her second birthday.  The honors are as much an opportunity to celebrate a particularly furry and friendly member of the victim services team as it is an occasion to mark the successes of a pioneering effort to use science-supported canine therapy.

"Our legal system can be a complex and intimidating environment, especially for vulnerable victims, kids, the elderly, and anyone who has been subjected to trauma," said District Attorney George Gascón.  “Pink and Red are helping victims every day to reduce the anxiety that is often associated with the circumstances under which they come into contact with the justice system.”

In Pink’s first case with her handler, Victim Services Chief Gena Castro Rodriguez, a victim came in to our office in order to modify a Criminal Protective Order (CPO) against his partner.  The Elderly victim was upset and frustrated having had no contact with his ex-partner who was in jail due to their domestic violence dispute.  Dr. Rodriguez asked the victim if it was okay to bring Pink to meet him while they spoke and he agreed.  After meeting Pink the victim’s demeanor completely changed, he asked to pet Pink and began smiling.  Ultimately the victim opened up significantly, talking about his stamp collection and other personal anecdotes.  In another instance involving an elderly victim and a young domestic violence survivor, both of whom were agitated and nervous, Pink’s presence brought on a noticeable shift in their attitudes and disposition.  They became calmer and were more willing to speak with investigators.  Pink was also instrumental in instilling a sense of confidence in these victims and helped them concentrate on giving their accounts of their victimization.  These are but a few of the cases where Pink and Red have helped victims of crime as they interface with the criminal justice system. 

All of the above victims expressed their thanks and appreciation for the support Pink provided, which is why SFDA is so pleased to celebrate her today.   Numerous studies have documented the positive impact of victims’ physical and emotional health by interacting with Facility Dogs including short-term decreases in blood pressure and heart rate, positive effects on social communication, reductions of feelings of loneliness and isolation, and improvements in depression and self-esteem. Facility dogs can also assist in decreasing anxiety and fear for victims engaged in interview, exam and legal proceedings.

The emotional support dogs come to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office from a Santa Fe, New Mexico non-profit, Assistance Dogs of the West, and are trained to work with children, adults with disabilities, and people in crisis in busy legal environments. 

From all of us at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, have a happy, happy, birthday Pink. 

pink

(Pictured Above: Red, on the left, and Pink, on the right, soak up some attention at the SFDA Office library)

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