November 22, 2016
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TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is the proud host of 21 Dog Obedience Programs throughout Florida. These programs pair inmates with dogs from local shelters and animal services agencies to prepare dogs for adoption and specialized skills training to become service animals. Inmates develop critical skills for successful re-entry and employment within our state’s workforce.
Secretary Julie Jones said, “The Department’s dog programs have been a successful partnership between our institutions and community animal shelters and I am proud of our staff and inmates for supporting this cause. These programs play an important role in providing inmates with employment skills and tools to better prepare them for release.”
This year, FDC is implementing the Credentialing Certificate Program for the dog training programs, which will allow dog training to be viewed as an occupational program with certificates issued upon completion of each job position. Each certificate notes the skills that have been mastered and will be beneficial to offenders upon release, particularly if they choose to pursue careers in a similar field.
Graduating dogs are crate trained, housebroken, spayed/neutered, up-to-date on shots and micro-chipped. Several dog training programs are tailored to benefit our nation’s veterans. Dogs trained as companion dogs provide assistance to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or undergoing rehabilitation for service-connected injuries.
FDC’s inmate dog training programs first began at Taylor Correctional Institution in July 2007. Since 2007, the programs have graduated 3,696 dogs which were adopted to forever homes, while more than 3,350 inmates have been involved as caretakers, handlers, and trainers.
To learn more about FDC Dog Obedience Programs, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/apps/utopia/learn.html.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 99,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.