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Michael F. Easley

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Theodis Beck

North Carolina Department of Correction

For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Pamela Walker
Date: January 19, 2005 Phone: (919) 716-3700

Dog training program expands to Craven Correctional Institution

VANCEBORO - Craven Correctional Institution today welcomed four dogs that will be a part ofA New Leash on Life – Prison Dog Training Program.” The program is being piloted at Craven CI and five other prisons. It gives inmates a chance to perform community service work by training dogs to be good adoptive pets and companions to citizens.

The program allows prison facilities to partner with local animal shelters and animal rescue agencies. Craven CI partnered with Craven-Pamlico Animal Services Center. Two professional trainers, Robert and Jackie Schmidt, have volunteered to teach the inmates on how to train the dogs.

The inmate dog trainers will work for 12 weeks with the dogs, teaching basic obedience, house training and socialization through positive reinforcement and repetition. Commands such as, “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “heel”, and “down” will be taught as well as walking the dog on a leash, walking off leash and paying attention to their trainers. 

The inmates will be paid an incentive wage of between 70 cents and $1.00 a day. Since the dogs will need daily care, the inmates will be paid seven days a week.

The prisons have carefully selected the inmates who will participate in the program. The inmates must have no sex related offenses or history of cruelty to animals. They must have enough time remaining on their sentence to complete at least one program training cycle. They also must not commit any rules infractions for at least 90 days to be considered for participation and must remain infraction free.

Site preparation costs and supplies for the dogs at Craven was less than $1,000 and all came from donations. Craven’s Community Resource Council will continue to accept donations to provide supplies and veterinary services for the dogs. Some non-profit groups have already expressed an interest in donating dog food and supplies.

Two other prisons, Marion Minimum Security Unit and Black Mountain Correctional Center for Women, have been piloting the program since May 2004. Three other prisons also are kicking off the program this month.

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North Carolina Department of Correction
Public Information Office     4202 Mail Service Center     Raleigh NC 27699-4202
Phone (919) 716-3700      Fax: (919) 716-3795

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