Knox County Drug Court enlists four-legged helper

Cooper is a three-year-old labradoodle that helps calm participants in the program.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 6:26 PM

KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Ann Bobbitt was a probation officer for over two decades. As a case manager for the Knox County drug court she's working to solve problems she's seen for years.

Bobbitt explains, "Just putting people in jail does not work. And that's what has happened for years and years and years. We have found that that doesn't work and that we need to concentrate more on treatment."

The program helps participants get back on their feet. But that's not always an easy task.

Drug court judge Ryan Johanningsmeier says, "With drug court, with our emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery, we wanted to emphasis to them that drug court is different than normal court."

The difference is a little bit more obvious now thanks to Cooper.

Bobbitt says, "He goes with me everywhere and he always makes everybody happy and he's just a joy to be around."

As Bobbitt went to community service projects so did Cooper. The next logical step seemed obvious.

Bobbitt says, "I just jokingly said to the judge ' here's an article about a drug court dog that goes to court every week.' and he goes well start bringing Cooper! So that's how it started."

Cooper helps calm participants while they go through the process. All by just being a good boy.

Bobbitt explains, "I want these people to succeed. We want to take every step that we can to make that process easier for them."

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