Nobody has busted out of the Idaho Correctional Center in more than 20 years, and prison officials say the credit goes to the Dirty Two Dozen — a team of snarling guard dogs that patrol the perimeter.
Their names sound friendly enough – Cookie, Bongo and Chi Chi among them — but the dogs, they say, are a mean lot, former death row inmates deemed too dangerous to be pets. Most would have been euthanized at the local pound if not for the prison duty that served as their reprieve.
The program began in 1986, when 24 dogs — German shepherds, Rottweilers and Belgian malinois, boxers and pit bulls — were placed in the space between the inner and outer chain-link fences that surround the prison.
The canines require no salary, don’t join unions and are more reliable during power outages than electrical security systems. They also seem to have a powerful deterrent effect.
“We’re basically giving them a second chance at a good, healthy life,” Corrections Officer Michael Amos, who heads the sentry dog program, told the Associated Press. ”Those same instincts that make them a bad pet make them good sentries.”
“The average offender has no problem engaging in a fight with a correctional officer — they’re used to fighting with humans. But they don’t want to mess with a 100-pound rottweiler who has an attitude and who wants to bite the snot out of them for climbing that fence,” said James Closson, a dog trainer in Boise. He arranged the donation of some overaggressive dogs to the prison when the sentry program was new.
Over the years, the dogs have bitten handlers, badly mauling a staff member who in the late 1990s entered the kennel without first making sure all the animals were caged. But no inmates locked up at the prison have been bitten, authorities said.
Interestingly, the prison also has a program in which inmates train and care for shelter dogs, designed to give the dogs a better chance of getting adopted. But those dogs, though they may have behavioral issues, aren’t as hard core as those that guard the fence.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam golfarb, angus love, belgian malinois, boise, boxers, center, correctional, corrections, criminals, deterrence, deterrent, dogs, escapes, fence, guard, humane society, idaho, mean, pennsylvania institutional law project, perimeter, pit bulls, prison, prisoners, rottweilers, sentries, shepherds
A brand new, a 50,000-square-foot indoor dog park has opened in Dallas — but the play area has been closed to pit bulls.
Unleashed, a multi-service dog center, complete with café and grooming services, says its insurance provider requested the ban on pit bulls.
“It’s not our call,” said co-owner Cody Acree. “I’d much rather take every animal and customer.”
Pit bulls were banned after a customer was bitten by his own dog during the park’s first day of operation, according to an article in the Dallas Morning News.
John Boeglin, 49, went to Unleashed with his three rescue dogs — including a pit bull mix. When his pit bull mix, Pinta, met another pit bull, the dogs began to fight and Boeglin was bit when he tried to separate them.
The incident has led to additional restrictions at the park. Dogs now have their temperament observed when they check in, and vaccination and veterinary record must be preented to verify breed.
“Its unfortunate, but we’d much rather the remaining customers have an experience that’s pleasant,” he said.
Acree said that pit bulls are still welcomed in the supply and grooming centers at the facility — just not the park area.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, banned, bite, breed bans, breed-specific, business, center, complex, dallas, dog bite, dog park, dogs, park, pay to play, pets, pit bulls, pits, play, restrictions, texas, unleashed