Prisoners Rehabilitating Shelter Dogs Works Both Ways

Prisoners now working with shelter dogs who are difficult to re-home
Prisoners now working with shelter dogs who are difficult to re-home

– In a good news story to come out of Queensland, prisoners in one of the State’s largest Prisons are being used to help rehabilitate shelter dogs who have issues that are preventing their re-homing.

As our readers will know, the Daily Dog is not a fan of many of the underhanded activities of the RSPCA – including their notorious kill rates of surrendered animals. Perhaps therefore it’s due to the public pressure and spotlight being applied to this issue that the RSPCA have embarked on an ambitious program to assist dogs who would otherwise almost certainly be euthanased. Whatever the reason however, on this occasion a bouquet rather than a brickbat is due to the RSPCA.

Beginning in January 2013, the RSPCA launched the BARK (Bars and Rehabilitation Kanine) program in conjunction with Arthur Gorrie Remand Centre at Wacol on the western outskirts of Brisbane. Four handlers work with eighty prisoners, who in turn work with dogs for up to eight weeks at a time. So far dozens of dogs have been processed through the program, producing demonstrable benefits for both man and beast. The Daily Dog understands the re-homing rate from “graduates” of the program is very high, and indeed far higher than would have been the case were they not involved in this program. Some of the dogs have clearly been traumatised by violence, some neglected, and who knows what else. The common factor is they have issues preventing them from being successfully re-homed without intervention, and this is where the prisoners come in – who let’s face it, have plenty of time on their hands!

The flipside of this program is the responsibility and satisfaction it gives prisoners to be able to contribute back to society in such a meaningful way. Instead of sitting on their hands, the men involved are able to work intensively with the dogs under the supervision of the gaol handlers. The dogs are trained to trust people again, and to interact in a positive, not a fearful way. Prison management have remarked on the positive effects it has on the attitude and behaviour of the men involved in the program too.

The team at pups4sale thinks not only is the BARK program a win-win for the men from this particular Prison, but that it should be rolled out across Australia. What a great way for people to help rehabilitate dogs and equally & undoubtedly for dogs to help rehabilitate people.

Your thoughts as always are welcome below…

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