a couple of former Kentucky prison inmates arrived in Hopkinton recently.
Don’t worry, though. They’ve got clean records and exceptional manners.
and they’re great at fetch.
Sammy, a Black Labrador mix puppy, and fellow inmate Oscar, an older bearded collie, just arrived at the Greyhound Friends kennel after spending a few weeks at Camp Canine, a training program at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky. Fourteen inmates at the prison – some serving life sentences, though none charged with any domestic abuse or animal cruelty offenses – train a group of a dozen local shelter dogs like Sammy and Oscar.
the training, as well as subsequent options for sending the dogs out-of-state to places like Greyhound Friends, rescues them from the very real possibility of euthanization.
“where we live there’s an enormous pet overpopulation problem,” said Jennifer Watkins, Kentucky’s Shamrock Greyhounds shelter director. “almost every county has to euthanize weekly. Thousands of dogs never get adopted and die.”
at Luther Luckett, dogs learn basic socialization skills, house-training, and simple commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come” or “lie down.” at the end of their stay, which can stretch from a few weeks to a few months, the dogs are tested with the nationally recognized Canine Good Citizen test.
“the inmate handlers actually get the ability to care for something … some of them have never had that opportunity to care for anything,” said Sherry Taylor, the correctional unit administrator who oversees the dog training program. “You have had several guys that really do get something from every dog that they have trained … and it does benefit the local community, not having to put down dogs.”
the training is largely informal, with monthly visits from a professional trainer sprinkled in, but the inmates have the opportunity for nearly 24-hour care of the dogs, minus time out for any GED or college classes they may take.
“Families are changing a bit in today’s time,” Lisanne Mikan, director of the Humane Society in Oldham County, Kentucky, said. “now you can adopt a dog, it’s housetrained, it’s past chewing … It’s just kind of nice with everybody’s really busy lifestyle. it doesn’t get much easier than this to adopt a perfect dog.”
all the dogs have their vaccines, and are spayed or neutered, Taylor said.
“the prison program dogs are in big demand,” Greyhound Friends’ founder Louise Coleman said, noting that she’s taken in about 20 dogs in the organization’s first year working with the prison. “the Boston Animal Rescue League takes them as fast as they come in …It’s a more sought-after pet.”
Sammy and Oscar will remain in Hopkinton for a week or so, Coleman said. anyone interested in adopting either dog can head to www.greyhound.org, call 508-435-5969, or visit the organization at 167 Saddle Hill Road in Hopkinton.
Alison McCall can be reached at 508-490-7459 or email@example.com.