Thursday, December 15, 2011

First CCSO Cell Dog Class To Graduate Today, Public Invited

WHAT: Second Chance Cell Dog Program graduation ceremony

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 15
TIME: 3 p.m.

LOCATION: Professional Development Center, 615 Third Ave. S., Naples

SUMMARY: The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to say goodbye to its first class of cell dogs after eight weeks of training at the Naples Jail Center.

The graduation ceremony is open to the community.

The inmates and pups were partnered under the Second Chance Cell Dog Program, a first-time collaboration of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of Naples and its affiliate Southwest Florida Professional Dog Trainers Alliance.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said the pilot program was a terrific success.

“We’re getting ready for the next program to get under way after the holidays,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

The goal of the program is to make homeless shelter dogs disciplined, loving and faithful family pets and increase their chances of going to a forever home. At the same time it teaches inmates valuable life lessons and job skills in the areas of dog training, dog grooming and veterinary assistant skills that they will be able to use after they complete their sentences.

The four puppies in the program, three golden retrievers and one boxer, have all been adopted. The adoption process was open to the public and handled through the Humane Society.

Humane Society Executive Director Michael Simonik said he is looking forward to the start of the next cell dog training session.

"The Cell Dog Program is an excellent opportunity for some of the Humane Society's homeless shelter dogs to be trained, become more socialized, and at the end of eight weeks become a highly desirable and adoptable family pet,” Simonik said. “We are thrilled to be working with Sheriff Rambosk and his team at the County Jail on a successful program for both our dogs and the inmates. It's a win-win for everyone."

Eight female inmates began working with the puppies on Oct. 24. Since then the pups - Aimee, Maggie, Dexter, and Chance - have had regular obedience training sessions with the inmates under the guidance of professional dog trainers.

The dogs lived in a cell with their two inmate trainers. Each dog had one primary inmate trainer and one secondary inmate trainer.

At Thursday’s graduation ceremony the four primary inmate trainers will turn the dogs over to the Humane Society, which will give the dogs to the new owners to complete the adoption process.

The Second Chance Cell Dog Program is part of a broader effort by CCSO to reduce recidivism and teach inmates life skills in conjunction with our community partners from across Collier County.

Jail Captain Beth Richards said she is pleased with the community’s acceptance of the cell dog program, noting that it can be difficult to get public support for corrections programs.

“It provides us an opportunity to have a positive community outreach program,” she said.