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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 25, 2005 Phone: (919) 716-3700

More prisons go to the dogs with pilot program

ELIZABETHTOWN- Bladen Correctional Center today welcomed two dogs to its prison where they will be a part ofA New Leash on Life – Prison Dog Training Program.” The program being piloted at Bladen CC as well as five other prisons will give inmates a chance to perform community service work by teaching dogs to be good pets and companions to citizens looking to adopt.

The program gives prison facilities the opportunity to partner with local animal shelters and animal rescue agencies. Bladen CC partnered with Friends of Columbus County Animal Shelter (FOCCAS) and the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society. The Fayetteville Police Department will provide a certified canine trainer to teach the inmates how to train the dogs.

The inmate dog trainers will work with dogs that have been selected by the community partners for at least eight weeks 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 concentrating on such things 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 four inmates who will participate in the program. The inmates must have no current or past conviction or history of a sex related offense or 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 while in the program.

All dog housing preparation items and supplies were donated. The community partners will continue to provide supplies and veterinary services for the dogs. Some non-profit groups have 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. Cabarrus Correctional Center, Craven Correctional Institution and Caledonia Correctional Institution also are kicking off the program this month.

Note: Contact Pamela Walker in the Public Affairs Office at (919) 716-3700 for information on all the prisons participating in “A New Leash on Life – Prison Dog Training Program.”

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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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