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Inmates help dogs get adopted

ESCANABA — Giving animals another chance to find a loving home is what the Delta Animal Shelter is all about. But what about the dogs that are deemed “broken” and unlikely to be adopted?

Delta Animal Shelter has partnered with the Dawgz Adapt program by bringing the “broken” dogs to the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising. At the prison, inmates spend time with and work out the issues of the dogs. The dogs come back to the shelter ready to be adopted.

“So what this is, is one more tool that we have to be able to help dogs that come to us,” Sue Gartland, the shelter director, said.

According to the Dawgz Adapt Facebook page, the program is for rescue dogs that are trained by inmates housed at the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising. The inmates are carefully chosen and must meet certain conduct and crime criteria to be considered for a dog handler position.

All of the dogs within the Dawgz Adapt program come from the Delta Animal Shelter. Gartland said the shelter partners with other shelters in the U.P. to transfer dogs in need of the program to the local shelter.

All of the expenses incurred in the Dawgz Adapt program are paid for by the Delta Animal Shelter and donations received from the public through the program’s Amazon Wish List.

Gartland explained the type of dogs chosen to participate in the program are under-socialized, need help with self-confidence and need help with obedience training.

“They live with the inmate 24 hours a day,” she said.

The inmates within the program work as a pair, so there are two inmates to one dog. Gartland explained the inmates keep daily diaries, send a weekly report to the shelter, and write a going home letter for the adopters giving the once broken dogs a second chance.

“They currently have 20 trained inmates that work with a total of 10 dogs,” Gartland said.