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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
August 4, 2010
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Reporters are invited to Graduation of First-in-the-Nation
Heartworm/Obedience Class for Shelter Dogs at Wakulla Prison

Reporters are invited to the first graduation of a dog class participating in the Heartworm Assistance Rehabilitation Training (HART) program at Wakulla Work Camp. The graduation is Tuesday, August 10 at 10 am, and reporters will have an opportunity to film and interview inmates and program staff.

HART is believed to be the first program of this kind in the nation. Its purpose is to provide a place for heartworm positive shelter dogs to complete their recovery following the heartworm shot regiment, then teach them basic obedience skills so they will more likely to be adopted upon completion of the program.

The heartworm shot regiment is administered offsite. The dogs are taken through bonding and stationary obedience exercises during the recovery period, which is a few weeks after they get to Wakulla CI.  After the recovery period, the dogs transition to moderate obedience training, and then to full active obedience classes and socialization exercises.

At the conclusion, the dogs are heartworm free, healthy, well-trained and available for adoption through the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. The heartworm treatment is administered by a volunteer veterinarian and the medication is paid for by the Animal Service Foundation and Merial Limited.

Reporters who plan to attend should call the Department of Corrections Public Affairs Office at (850) 488-0420 so a background check can be completed.

Directions to Wakulla Work Camp: From I-10 take Exit 199 (US-27 South) through downtown Tallahassee, the town of Woodville (US-363, Woodville Hwy) and across the Leon/Wakulla County line. Turn left onto Commerce Boulevard (first paved road on left after the County line). Go approximately 4½ miles on Commerce Boulevard and turn right on Melaleuca Drive and follow until dead end at end of Work Camp with a parking lot for visitors on left side.

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