Sam, MCAO’s beloved victim support dog, to hang up his vest

Sam (submitted photo)

Sam (submitted photo)

Maricopa County Attorney Office’s first victim support dog, Sam, submitted his resignation to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

In a unanimous vote, the board approved a motion for Sam to continue to live with his handler and Victim Advocate, Rhonda Stewart. His retirement is effective July 29, according to a press release.

“Sam has truly been an asset to this office. He has provided comfort and unconditional support for victims of all ages, but especially children,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery, in the release. “We thank Sam for his dedicated service to those at their most vulnerable, and for his role in bringing criminals to justice by helping victims through an often emotionally difficult process.”

Throughout his six-year career, Sam carried a caseload of an average of 10 victims per month totaling more than 750 victims he has helped through the often stressful and confusing judicial process.

With these victims he would attend hundreds of criminal justice hearings including pretrial hearings, sentencings and trials. All types of victims have been served and comforted by him: children, adults, the elderly, sex abuse victims, stalking and domestic violence victims and the family members of those murdered.

Sam, a Golden Retriever-Irish Setter mix, was found as a puppy wandering around the streets of the Sunnyslope area in Phoenix and was turned into the Humane Society facility on Hatcher.

There, the Foundation for Service Dog Support found him and fell in love with him. They thought he had the perfect temperament needed for a service dog, the release stated. Sam successfully completed training and, with financial support from PetSmart, he came to work for the County Attorney’s office on May 22, 2010.

Sam is a true trailblazer as one of the first three Courthouse Dogs in the nation. He has been the subject of many news articles has appeared at numerous community events.

His strong, but gentle spirit will be missed from the halls of the County Attorney’s Office and the courtrooms of Maricopa County Superior Court.

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