What do you do with a narcotic dog that would rather play fetch, than search for drugs? You make him the first Ventura County Sheriff’s Emotional Support/Therapeutic K-9.
Meet Rocky, the dog making a difference in county jail. Rocky was purchased and trained with community donated funds. Rocky lives with Deputy Myron Bennett who still performs his normal duties, but now with a partner. Rocky’s presence in the jail system does not cost taxpayers any money.
As part of Sheriff Ayub’s focus on the mentally ill, Rocky’s new assignment is doing what he does best, making people smile. Rocky is now to increase socialization and treatment compliance for those in jail who struggle with mental illness. Rocky’s presence helps to calm those in crisis and helps to reduce the anxieties of those who have challenges navigating social settings.
About the program, Sheriff Ayub said, “I want the public to understand that our jails house some of our communities severely mentally ill. These individuals could be the sons and daughters of your neighbors, co-workers, and friends. None of us are immune from the impacts of mental illness. Working to improve a person’s circumstances while in custody helps them to return to our communities stabilized and healthier. We all know dogs have that special ability to calm people with their floppy ears and wet noses. It made perfect sense to assign Rocky to this job.”
Assistant Sheriff Rob Davidson commented, “Rocky has an impact on all of us. Jails are stressful places to work, Rocky gives all our staff a chance to scratch his belly and take a deep breath from time to time. Rocky is truly a breath of fresh air for everyone.”
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).