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

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Media Advisory
May 3, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Communications Director
(850) 488-0420

Reporters invited to May 25 Graduation of Inmate-Trained Shelter Dogs

Previous DAWGS graduating Class and their inmate instructors
Previous DAWGS graduating Class and their inmate instructors

WHO: Reporters are invited to the Second Anniversary and graduation ceremony of the latest class of dogs trained by state inmates at Gulf Forestry Camp in White City, Florida, just north of Port Saint Joe. This is the 13th class of DAWGS to graduate, and as a result of this program, 127 dogs have graduated and been placed in forever homes since its inception in 2009. Reporters will have opportunities to film the dogs, to interview the staff and inmates, and to be there when the coveted “Top Dog” (Best in Class) and “Smiley Award” (Most Improved) winners are announced.
WHEN: The graduation takes place on May 25, 2011 at Gulf Forestry Camp, 3222 DOC Whitfield Rd, at 10:00 am, Eastern Time.


WHAT:  DAWGS stands for Developing Adoptable Dogs with Good Sociability. These DAWGS spend eight weeks at Gulf Correctional Institution’s Forestry Camp being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption costs vary per dog. All DAWGS have good temperaments and get along well with other dogs

WHY: Currently one of every three inmates released from the Florida prison system returns to prison within three years. Through programs like DAWGS, the Department of Corrections is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.                                                  

DEPARTMENT CONTACT:  If you wish to attend the DAWGS graduation ceremony, please contact the Department of Corrections’ Communications Office at (850) 488-0420 several days before the scheduled graduation, as background checks will need to be completed.

OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS: To adopt a DAWGS graduate, contact Sandi Christy, (850) 229-1431 or Melody Townsend, (850) 227-1103, (850) 247-9476, or visit the DAWGS website at

DIRECTIONS TO GULF FORESTRY CAMP: If proceeding South on Hwy 71, turn left on DOC Whitfield Rd.   The work camp is on the right, after traveling several miles. The phone number at the camp is 850-827-4000.

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