Law Being Named After K9: Duvall

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A past local canine hero is having his name immortalized in a state law.

 

Rep. Beryl Amedee has proposed a change to Act 503 of 2019 which set the law for facility dogs, to name it after Terrebonne Parish’s own late facility dog, Duvall.



 

“The dog’s function is like a living breathing teddy bear,” said Amedee. “it’s simply to bring comfort, usually to children but in some cases adults can also have the aid of a facility dog.”

 



 

When a victim, often of a violent crime, has to testify in court, a facility dog is trained to sit near their feet and comfort them. Tommy Beeson, Chief Investigator with the Terrebonne Parish DA’s Office and Duvall’s partner, said the jury often doesn’t even know the dog is there because it stays under the table to prevent its influence over the jury.

 

Duvall mostly worked with abused kids, said Beeson. When the victim went into forensic interviews, Duvall would lay next to them and calm them through the process. When the victim had to go before the stand, Duvall would curl at their feet as they faced their accuser.



 

According to Beeson, Duvall sat with one young girl for four hours as she testified in court. For this and the rest of Duvall’s seven year career, he and Beeson went to Seattle Washington and received the 2019 medal of “doggedness.”

 



 

The two received this honor a week just before his passing caused by a birth defect. Duvall’s years of service extended his overall lifespan, said Beeson.

 

“If he had been a normal dog, running and all the stuff like normal Labs do, he most probably wouldn’t have lived to be three,” said Beeson.“But he was coming up on ten. I had him a long time, but I really miss him because we worked together. I spent more time with him than I did with most of my family members.”



 

Like other service dogs, facility dogs go through extensive training. There are five facilities in the U.S. which conduct the training. At eight weeks old, the puppy, a Lab, Golden Retriever, or mix of the two, attends the facility to be checked out, then goes to puppy raisers until 14-months-old, at which point the dog returns to the facility to complete its training which lasts about a year. By the end of the training process the dog receives $50,000 in training.

 

An investigator from the Terrebonne Parish’s DA’s office is attending a class in May to seek a new facility dog.