DAWGS in Prison celebrates five years


The DAWGs in Prison program celebrates its 32nd graduating class alongside its five year anniversary.

Special to The Star
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 09:25 AM.

This seems an appropriate time to “paws” for a retrospective.

The Developing Adoptable Dogs With Good Sociability (DAWGS) program, operated through a partnership between the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society, the Florida Department of Corrections and the Board of County Commissioners, will celebrate a milestone on April 2.

Not only will the 32nd class of pups graduate from their eight-week training regimen and be in search of good home, but it also marks the five-year anniversary of the program.

The program is based out of the Gulf Forestry Camp where rescued dogs are paired up with teams of inmate trainers for a program during which the animals will be crate-trained, house-trained and learn basic obedience.

After graduating, the pups are available for adoption immediately. The dogs are up-to-date on all vaccines, are spayed or neutered and are heartworm negative.

The mission of the DAWGS program is to provide training and education for both inmate and canines, resulting in permanent homes for the dogs, viable job skills for the inmate and a productive and law-abiding life upon release.

More than 330 dogs have been trained and adopted through the program. Those dogs now represent family pets in 19 states, predominantly in Florida and New England.

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