2012-12-27 / Front Page

Top 10 stories of 2012

Prisoners train dogs in program


Select prisoners from the Alger Correctional Facility have spent the last year taking part in a unique Eva Burrell Animal Shelter dog training program. Above, prisoners work in the “yard” during one training session earlier this year. 
MDOC photos Select prisoners from the Alger Correctional Facility have spent the last year taking part in a unique Eva Burrell Animal Shelter dog training program. Above, prisoners work in the “yard” during one training session earlier this year. MDOC photos MUNISING – A story unique not only to the area, but to the state, came to light this summer, as officials from the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter revealed their new training program – located within the walls of the Alger Correctional Facility.

According to Warden Catherine Bauman, who also serves on the shelter’s board, the idea to have prison inmates train shelter dogs was pitched during a board meeting, and took over a year to get up and running. She described it as the first type of program in the state at the prison’s higher security level – Level 4. She also noted the prison has now been split into Level 4 and Level 2 units, and all future dogs will be located in the Level 2 portion.

The program has now been operational since late 2011, with two pre-screened and qualified prisoners assigned to each dog. Shelter volunteers hold various learning sessions with groups of prisoners and the entire cost of the program is covered by the animal shelter.

The first three dogs of the program were trained within eight weeks and were immediately adopted. Future dogs of the program will first be deemed safe and ready to enter the community, and will then be placed on the shelter’s website for adoption. Dogs do not re-enter the shelter, which potentially eases the burden on the shelter volunteers.

For more information on the training program, or to adopt a shelter animal, contact the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter at 341- 1000 or visit www.upebas.org.

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