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Home > Dogs in the News, Working Dogs > DAWGS Gives Shelter Dogs and Florida Inmates a Second Chance

DAWGS Gives Shelter Dogs and Florida Inmates a Second Chance

The Florida Department of Corrections announces that the first class of DAWGS (Developing Adoptable dogs With Good Sociability) graduated on July 8 at Gulf Forestry Camp.  The Department has teamed up with the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society to form a unique dog training school.  According to the press release, “DAWGS brings together shelter dogs with inmates and gives each a second chance to succeed.  DAWGS are trained by inmates at Gulf Forestry Camp, who were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer in hopes that they may find gainful employment upon release from prison.”

Inmates Teach Basic Dog Training Commands

The dog training course involves obedience training by an inmate for an eight-week period.  The dogs are taught basic dog training commands, such as sit, stay and come, and are taught to walk without pulling on the leash.  By graduation day, each DAWG is a well-trained dog.

Adopting a Dog

After the dogs have competed the training course, they are adoptable, having been spayed or neutered, housebroken, crate trained, vaccinated and checked for heartworm.  Adoption fees start at $150.  Of these first eight graduates, six were already adopted.  They will be replaced by a new class immediately, and the program is expected to graduate 60 trained dogs over the next year.

Inmates Gain Valuable Career Skills

There are inmate dog training programs at four Florida Department of Corrections facilities.  According to the press release:

Currently one in 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.

Adopt a Dog or Make a Tax Deductible Donation

For information about the DAWGS program, go to their website.  You will find information about how to adopt one of these wonderful, well-trained dogs.  And you will also learn how you can help the program with a tax deductible donation.

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