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Second Chance Dog Training program offers inmates and shelter dogs an opportunity for a better life

Collaborative effort between Miami-Dade County Animal Services, Applause Your Paws Dog Training, and Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation helps inmates develop skills for employment as dog trainers upon release.

MIAMI (August 29, 2017)

The first three canine participants in the Second Chance Dog Training program — a collaborative effort between Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services), Applause Your Paws Dog Training and the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCR) that offers inmates and shelter dogs an opportunity for a better life ― graduated this July at the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program. The graduating dogs are already up for adoption.

The Second Chance Dog Training program was implemented in September 2014, with the objective of developing marketable skills for inmate participants to improve their employability upon release and modifying the behavior of the dogs to increase their opportunities for adoption. The program took a hiatus in 2015, but was recently brought back in May 2017. Through the program, inmates learn to train dogs during an eight-week course that includes weekly obedience training sessions provided by a professional animal trainer, and a final week for administration of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Certification exam.

On Friday, September 1st at 10 a.m., MDCR’s Boot Camp Program (6950 NW 41st Street Miami, FL 33166) will have an open house for the media and dignitaries to learn more about the program. The graduating dogs will be in attendance along with past dogs who have now been adopted. Boot Camp Cadets will also be in attendance. The Boot Camp Program will receive a new set of dogs in the coming weeks.

“The Second Chance Dog Training program is a win-win for all,” said District 4 Commissioner Sally A. Heyman. “This program provides a life-skills to those people in custody and training and socialization to the shelter dogs awaiting for adoption.”

The training conforms to the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen training, which includes 10 obedience commands, the first level certificate awarded for dog obedience. To facilitate the training, Animal Services constructed two dog shelter areas using standards established by the Humane Society of the United States at the MDCR Treatment and Training Center.

Participating inmates are supervised by current correctional staff. Inmate participation is limited to inmates with no history of violence and a minimum of 60 days remaining in custody to ensure sufficient time for Program completion. Animal Services will provide healthy dogs, dog food and training support; veterinary services including necessary medication and dog supplies such as blankets, towels, food bowls, grooming supplies, bedding, etc. as well as the laundering of these items. Animal Services will also conduct requisite monthly health inspections. Applause Your Paws provides all training support and equipment and temperament tests each canine prior to entry into the program.

“The Second Chance Dog Training program speaks to the core missions of both MDCR and Animal Services, the opportunity for a second chance,” said Interim Director Daniel Junior. “The value of such programs as Second Chance Dog Training program is that they reconnect our cadets with their basic sense of being human, of being a caring person.”

Interested adopters should contact the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department at 311 or pets@miamidade.gov.

About Miami-Dade County Boot Camp Program

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department has gained a reputation throughout the nation as an organization dedicated to the achievement of excellence. This Department has earned its reputation by encouraging creative and innovative approaches to the numerous opportunities faced by correctional organizations.

Participants sentenced to this program primarily consist of young men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 who have been adjudicated as adults. Prior to admission into the Boot Camp program, each inmate receives a complete and comprehensive assessment, including a physical examination, a psychological evaluation and orientation.

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department Boot Camp program utilizes committed, specially trained personnel. It is a cost effective, population reducing, realistic reform program which serves the offender, and ultimately the community.

Due to the nature of the Boot Camp program, visitation is a privilege that must be earned. The cadet is evaluated after the first 60 days of the Boot Camp program. This evaluation is based on a file review and a satisfactory performance rating. Once these requirements are met, the cadet will be allowed minimal visitation.

Boot Camp is an accredited facility. Our program has resulted in a consistently low recidivism rate for its graduates – currently at 11 percent. We are proud that nearly 90 percent of all graduates are able to turn their lives and are now productive members of society.

About Miami-Dade County Animal Services

Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services) provides care and refuge for over 27,000 unwanted dogs and cats. Every day, Animal Services staff and volunteers work diligently to find life-long homes for these abandoned animals by facilitating onsite adoptions, hosting off-site adoption at events and locations throughout the community, and working collaboratively with over 70 rescue organizations who share in our goal of a No Kill Miami-Dade County.

About Applause Your Paws Dog Training

Applause Your Paws (AYP) dog training provides professional dog and puppy training services in Miami, Florida. AYP’s mission is to help dog owners improve their quality of life through enjoyable, connected relationships with their canine companions by providing engaging, positive education and humane, non-intimidating training so that in any environment they can have the well-behaved dog they always wanted.