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Sunday, Sep. 14, 2014

Prisoners, pups help each other

Friday, February 25, 2011

(Photo)
Southeast Correctional Center offender-handlers Ricky Kidd (left) and Derek Holmes play with "Lil' Bill," the dog they're training through the Puppies for Parole. The program offers selected offenders an opportunity to train dogs rescued from animal shelters and animal advocate groups. The dogs are trained in basic obedience and tested for the Canine Good Citizen Award and then made available for adoption. Leonna Heuring, Staff
CHARLESTON -- Derek Holmes takes his role as dog handler serious. The Southeast Correctional Center offender recently purchased the "Dog Bible."

The canine reference book aids Holmes and his cellmate/fellow dog handler Ricky Kidd in adjusting the training of their chihuahua mix, Lil' Bill, to meet the needs of the dog training program, Puppies for Parole.

In September, Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston became the ninth prison in Missouri to implement the program, which offers selected offenders an opportunity to train dogs rescued from animal shelters and animal advocate groups. The Charleston prison's partnering agency, Caruthersville Humane Society. Offenders learn skills that assist in their rehabilitation and their work ultimately produces dogs that are more adoptable.

"I think it's so important when the dogs go into a home, they are already equipped with basic fundamentals," Kidd said.

Using a 10-point system, all dogs are trained in basic obedience and tested for the Canine Good Citizen Award. The dogs are with the offenders for a minimum of eight weeks. Southeast Correctional Center is currently on its second group of dogs being trained by offenders.

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