Dog training program promoted at Cerritos

Frank Gonzalez, Scott Garite

The Cerritos College Court Reporting Club welcomed Jan Garnett Lopez to help promote the Memorial for Julie Ann Brandau Project that Lopez created.

Lopez is the president of the National Court Reporters Association in Los Angeles and founder of a community service program launched in May of 2005 that assists the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

The Brandau project was started after the 2005 murders of Atlanta Court Reporter Julie Brandau and Judge Rowland Barnes.

Brandau and Barnes were gunned down on the eighth floor of an Atlanta courthouse while court was in session.

“I created a community service memorial project at the local level for Brandau, a slain court reporter,” Lopez said. “I wanted to find a way to honor her memory and with her being an animal lover, the NDSDF was a perfect fit.”

Cerritos was fortunate to have two dogs from the NDSDF on campus last Wednesday.

The two dogs were a black labrador, Jerry, handled by Bruce Hale of the Orange County Fire Department and a golden retriever, Wylie, handled by Doug Van Iwaarden.

According to Carla-Marria Cocca, Court Reporting Club president, Jerry and Hale are one of three teams that the Court Reporting Club sponsor.

The cost of training each dog is $10,000 and ensures that each dog is able to assist first responders at no cost to the agency.

Cocca said, “Lopez wanted to help raise $10,000 to help sponsor a search and rescue team.

“The CRC raised the money for one team and since then we just recently raised enough for our third, and the club is $6,000 away from being able to sponsor a fourth.”

The program assists the SDF with rescuing golden retrievers, labrador retrievers and border collies from animal shelters and training them to become search and rescue dogs.

“NDSDF typically looks for high energy, toy-driven dogs that have been put in a pound or shelter because the original owners couldn’t handle them,” Cocca explained.