Stearns County will be featured on Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America.  Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall indicates the piece will air on GMA 3 and will be posted on GMA's website later that same day.  The feature will air on ABC in the noon hour Thursday.

Last month Good Morning America was in St. Cloud recording a feature on the county's use of therapy dog, Nova.  In 2021 Stearns County added a golden retriever named, Nova who was trained to work with victims who've dealt with a traumatic experiences.  Nova was the first in the State of Minnesota to be allowed to accompany victims to the witness stand.

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Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall was one of the people who met with Good Morning America and to talk about the use of Nova.  She indicates the feature was supposed to air in September but due to breaking national and world news the feature was pushed back.

Kendall says in the two cases Nova was allowed to appear in the courtroom with the victim she has really made a difference.  Kendall explains in both of these cases the victim suffered many years of abuse.  She says witnesses are asked to recount the abuse they suffered with the perpetrator present along with a group of complete strangers.  Kendall says Nova helps to calm victims and help get them through it.

Kendall says using dogs to assist victims in this manner has been done before both on the east and west coasts of the United States.  The idea to do this in Stearns County occurred to Kendall when she was on the board for the National District Attorneys Association.  States that used these dogs before Minnesota include Oregon, Washington and Maine.  There is an agency in Minnesota called "Helping Paws" that raises and trains dogs to assist in this way.  Kendall says golden and labrador retrievers have been used based on their temperament.


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