Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae graduated yesterday, meaning they will be leaving the prison where they’ve lived for the past 10 weeks and going to homes with new families.
The three dogs were members of the 16th graduating class of A New Leash on Life, a program in which inmates give shelter dogs the training they need to be welcomed into new homes.
The inmate trainers, all of whom received certificates, also get something more out of the deal — pride, self-esteem, and a job skill, for starters. Several of them spoke about what they’d gotten out of the program during yesterday’s ceremony, noting that dog training requires, above all, patience, compassion and love.
The program at Forsyth Correctional Center, a minimum-security state prison in Winston-Salem, is operated by the Forsyth Humane Society — and it’s one of 16 in prisons statewide.
Dogs from the shelter are referred to the inmates who, with help from professional trainers, straighten out any issues the canines may have, often while simultaneously straightening out their own.
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae, all wearing bandanas and mortarboards, were each brought in front of the stage with their trainer, and later demonstrated their agility and obedience skills in front of the audience in a nearby field.
Brody, to the left, a one year old pit mix who was originally rescued from a kill shelter as a pup, departed after the ceremony with his new family, Dan and Denise Nelson and their daughter, Mari. They first came across him on the Internet, and later met him at an adoption fair before visiting him at the prison.
Diamond, a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer mix whose energy level was more than her previous owners could handle, left with her new family, too — but not until after demonstrating her skills on the prison’s agility course.
Ella Mae was destined for a new home as well.
Humane Society officials announced the next three canine members of the program, who will arrive at the prison this week. They’ll include two energetic husky mixes, Jonah and Dude. Dude ended up in the shelter after wandering alone into a pet supply store.
Inmates in the program are guided by professional trainers, provided through the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club, who donate their time to the program. The program receives no state or federal funding, and the humane society covers all medical care, supplies and expenses.
Forsyth Correctional Center launched the program in 2009, but it has been operating at some other North Carolina state prisons since 2004.
You can find more information on the New Leash on Life program — whose slogan is “Changing men’s lives one dog at a time” — here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a new leash on life, animals, brody, diamond, dogs, dude, ella mae, forsyth correctional center, forsyth humane society, inmates, jonah, new leash on life, north carolina, pets, prison, prisoners, program, rehabilitation, rescue, second chances, shelters, train, trainers, winston-salem, winston-salem dog training club
America’s toughest sheriff seems to have a soft spot for pooches.
That, in part, explains why Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs an animal shelter out of the old Maricopa County jail in Phoenix — one complete with air conditioning, a luxury Arpaio has never seen fit to afford the incarcerated humans entrusted to his care.
Arpaio — a strong supporter of the death penalty, cracking down on illegal immigrants and providing the bare minimum, or slightly less, for inmates – has long been criticized for inhumane practices in the county jail, from the use of chain gangs to housing inmates in tents to mandating all inmate underwear be pink.
He once told CNN he was proud of the fact that the no-frills county prison system spent $1.10 each a day to feed its guard dogs, but only 90 cents each to feed its inmates.
His no-kill animal shelter, on the other hand — called MASH (Maricpopa Animal Safe Haven) – offers a cool and comfortable, supportive and nurturing environment for pets.
Prisoners help run the shelter, and news reports recently highlighted the story of two emaciated Rhodesian Ridgebacks who were nursed back to health by female inmates. The dogs were taken in after their owner, 34-year-old Jonathan Eder, was arrested on animal cruelty charges in August, ABC15 in Phoenix reported.
Named Bazzele and Frank, the dogs had been deprived of food and water for so long that the outlines of their rib cages were “drastically visible.” Bazelle reportedly weighed only 48 pounds, Frank 57. At the shelter, both have recovered. Bazzele now weighs 71 pounds and Frank 73. Both are up for adoption for $100 each.
The shelter was created to house and care for animals that, because of abuse or neglect by their caretakers, have been seized by the county’s Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit and must remain in custody until the court cases are resolved. After that, the sheriff’s shelter finds adoptive homes for the dogs.
Arpaio opened the shelter in the First Avenue Jail, which was closed for repairs in December 1999, then reopened for pets after getting refurbished.
“Some critics have said that it’s inhumane to put dogs and cats in air-conditioned quarters when inmates don’t have air conditioning,” the sheriff’s website says. “A good answer came from one of the inmates assigned to care for the dogs. When asked if she was resentful about not having air conditioning, she gestured to some of the dogs and said, ‘They didn’t do anything wrong. I did.’”
Consider the case of Schultz, the mastiff pictured to the left, also known as #1001.
“My owner kept me locked in a crate so I wasn’t allowed to go outside to use the bathroom, they also failed to provide me with the necessary food & water,” he says on the sheriff’s shelter web page that lists available animals. “I was brought to the MASH Unit in August, 2007, in which I received the medical attention and the love I needed to get better and recover …”
You won’t find many testimonials like that from the humans Arpaio oversees.
In Maricopa County, for an inmate to be treated like a dog would, literally, be an improvement — and, contrary as nurturing an inmate would be to the highly popular Arpaio’s philosophy, maybe it would keep some of them from biting again, once they are eventually released from their crates.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, animal shelter, arizona, arpaio, county, dogs, humane, inhumane, inmates, jail, joe, maricopa, mash, no-kill, pets, phoenix, prison, rescue, rights, sheriff
John Manard, who escaped from a Kansas prison by hiding inside a dog crate, was sentenced yesterday to another 10 years in federal prison on weapons charges, according to the Kansas City Star.
Manard was sprung from the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2006 by a prison volunteer, who used her dog van to drive him to freedom. Manard was hidden inside a cardboard box placed inside a dog crate.
The volunteer, Toby Young, was the founder of Safe Harbor, a program that rescued dogs from animal shelters and worked with inmates to train the pets and make them suitable for adoption. Married and a mother of two, she became romantically involved with the prisoner while working inside the Lansing Correctional Facility. You can read more about that saga — a Lifetime movie waiting to happen — here.
After leaving the Lansing prison, the two went to Young’s house where they took her husband’s two pistols.
Young, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for giving a firearm to a felon. Manard’s new conviction on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm comes on top of his escape conviction and a previous murder conviction, for which he was serving a life sentence.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: conviction, crate, dog, dog crate, dogs, escape, escapee, firearms, inmates, john manard, kansas, lansing correctional facility, prison, prisoner, program, rescue, safe harbor, shelter, toby young, van, weapons