Cons Train Shelter Dogs, Both Get Better Lives
The Southeastern Correctional Institution in Lancaster, Ohio partners with local animal shelters to provide temporary housing and basic behavioral training to shelter dogs awaiting adoption. The inmates provide for the dogs’ training and care, including living with them, bathing, and daily exercise.
The program accepts twenty shelter dogs at one time, all of whom have been passed over many times by potential owners due to behavior issues or lack of training. The inmates work with them around the clock and ensure each dog has basic behavior training and is acclimated to living with people.
Once the dogs are trained, they’re advertised on the internet. Prospective owners go through a rigorous application process, and if chosen, are invited into the prison facility to meet with the dog before the adoption is finalized.
Sergeant Brenda Black is the program’s coordinator for the prison. As an animal lover, she was drawn to the program, but has been pleased by the results for the inmates as well. It provides them an opportunity to give back to the community and a sense of responsibility – both critical components to their rehabilitation.
Morgan, Perry, and Fairfield counties have seen a significant reduction in euthanization rates as a result of this program. The inmates say working with the dogs helps them keep depression at bay. It’s hard for them to see the dogs leave, but does help them learn to cope with emotions in a healthier way.