Animal shelter teams up with prison to train dogs - WNEM TV 5

Animal shelter teams up with prison to train dogs

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The warden at the Saginaw Correctional Facility already had a program in place that allows inmates to train service dogs, but now they're looking to do something a little different with the county shelter.

Four dogs will participate in a prison program where they will be trained by inmates and then adopted into forever homes.

"We will house them. The county folks will train them and the goal will be to increase the rate of adoption," said James Zummer, deputy warden for the prison.

The dogs come from the Saginaw County Animal Care Center.

Staff performed temperament testing with the dogs and selected four well-behaved pit bull mixes to start off the program.

Joaquin Guerrero, trainer, will be working with both the dogs and inmates.

"I think it's going to help out a lot because it's going to find homes for these pets. People already know when they get done with the program they'll have a dog that's already imprinted and has some type of training that they're able to work with," Guerrero said.

He said only positive reinforcement will be used to train the four legged friends.

"We're not going to be using any food or anything like that. It's just going to be all praise and working with the dogs," Guerrero said.

The inmates will be like foster owners and the dogs will live in the cells with them.

"What we have discovered through research is this has a very stabilizing, calming effect to the daily operation of the prison," Zummer said.

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