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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary


Prison Dog Programs

The Department's prison dog obedience programs continue to expand, bringing together dogs from shelters and humane societies with inmates who train them and make them more adoptable. The inmates, in turn, use their dog grooming and training skills to help them find jobs in the animal services field upon release. More than 300 shelter dogs have been trained and given a second chance at life by being adopted into "forever" homes through our prison dog programs. Here are some of our current programs.

Prison Dog Programs


ADAPT stands for Adoptable Dogs After Prisoner Training. This is an eight week program at New River Correctional Institution's O-Unit where the dogs are being trained by inmates in basic obedience such as sit, stay, come and walk along side you without pulling on their leash. The dogs are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, spayed or neutered and are microchipped. The cost for the Adoption is $100.00. For questions and adoptions please contact the Humane Society of NorthEast Florida at (386) 325-1587 or by email at


BARK stands for Beacon Among Rescue Canines (BARK). This program, located at Martin CI, focuses on inmates training dogs to help disabled veterans. BARK training is provided by staff from Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans. The program began on December 6, 2010.


DAWGS stands for Developing Adoptable Dogs with Good Sociability. Dogs for the program come from the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society in Port St. Joe and the program is a joint effort with Gulf Forestry Camp. All of the dogs selected for this program go through an intense eight-week training session and live with their trainers, handlers and caretakers in a dormitory-style work camp. The dogs have had extensive temperament tests and get along well with other dogs and people. They are available for adoption immediately and will able to go to their forever homes with you after graduation. The dogs are all crate trained, house trained, and basic obedience trained. They can be expected to sit, stay, recall, down, heel, and respond to "no" and "leave it". The dogs are also well trained on a leash.

They begin Good Citizen Training the last two weeks of the program. They are up-todate on all vaccines as well as spayed/neutered and heartworm negative. Dogs requiring heartworm treatment receive treatment before or during their program and have completed treatment prior to graduation. DAWGS has been awarded two grants from the Jesse Ball duPont Foundation, in 2010 and 2011, for the outstanding results achieved with both inmates and dogs. The dogs participating in DAWGS are trained for eight weeks by state inmates at Gulf Forestry Camp under the direction of Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka, Florida. These inmates were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer, in the hopes that they may find gainful employment in animal services when released from prison. The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society provides frequent training classes, advice and volunteer trainers to support the DAWGS program. Outings are also arranged for select dogs to socialize in the Gulf County community. For more information about the DAWGS in Prison program, please go to the website:


This first-of-its-kind dog training program at Wakulla CI is called Heartworm Assistance Rehabilitation Training (HART), and its purpose is to provide a place for heartworm positive dogs to complete their recovery following the heartworm shot regimen, which is administered offsite. The dogs are taken through bonding and stationary obedience exercises during the recovery period, which is a few weeks after they get to Wakulla CI. After the recovery period, the dogs transition to moderate obedience training, and then to full active obedience classes and socialization exercises. At the conclusion, the dogs are heartworm free, healthy, well-trained and available for adoption through the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. The heartworm treatment is administered by a volunteer veterinarian and the medication is paid for by the Animal Service Foundation and Merial Limited.


Paws on Parole is a partnership program between the Florida Department of Corrections' Gainesville Correctional Institution Work Camp and Alachua County Animal Services. The program is designed to increase adoptability of selected dogs at the Alachua County Animal Shelter. During the eight-week training period, professional dog trainers volunteer their time to teach inmates how to train dogs in socialization techniques and basic obedience. The inmates learn to train the dogs to the standards of the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizens Program. At the end of their training, the dogs take a test consisting of 10 skills needed by well-mannered dogs such as: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking through a crowd, etc. Paws on Parole also includes an Aftercare Network, which is a group that will work with adopting families and their dogs to help integrate the training the dogs received. Each dog has received all of their shots, is receiving heartworm prevention, is microchipped, crate trained and has been spayed or neutered. Adoption costs are only $45. For more information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and a copy of the brochure, click For more information about Paws on Parole adoption and the Aftercare Network contact Hilary Hynes, Public Education Program Coordinator, Alachua County Animal Services at (352) 264-6881 or click the Paws on Parole link at


Prison Pals and Pups was initiated by the West Volusia Kennel Club at Tomoka CI and joined by Halifax Humane Society. Ten dogs spend seven weeks training with the inmates to learn basic obedience, heel, sit, down, and come commands. They also do basic Rally and Agility training. The goal is to place healthy, spayed/neutered dogs in forever homes, as well as to give inmates skills that they list on their resumes. All dogs are given the AKC Good Citizen Test and upon passing the trainers are presented with an AKC certificate noting that they have passed. Upon being adopted, the new owner is offered a free seven-week training course by the West Volusia Kennel Club in order for the owner to become familiar with what the dog has been taught. For further information about the program or adopting a dog contact Allyn Weigel, 386-734-7923 or Halifax Humane Society at


Sago Palm Work Camp and South Florida Reception Center, in conjunction with New Horizons Service Dogs Inc., each have an inmate program to train service dogs to assist persons with disabilities. Currently eight dogs are in training at the prison. Training lasts for 18 months and when complete, dogs are able to assist owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. The Prison Pup Program is an inmate vocational program where inmates can earn vocational certificates in dog grooming and training while simultaneously preparing dogs to assist persons with disabilities. The program is part of the Department's Re-Entry initiative, which is focused on preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society upon release from prison.


UTOPIA stands for Undergoing Training & Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability. UTOPIA dogs spend eight weeks at Taylor Correctional Institution being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped, and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won't have to pay for dog training! To adopt a UTOPIA graduate, contact the Leon Community Animal Service Center's Lisa Glunt at (850) 891-2950 or go here to find out more


WOOF stands for Women Offering Obedience and Friendship. WOOF dogs spend eight weeks at Lowell Correctional Institution Work Camp being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption only costs $75 – a bargain since you won't have to pay for dog training. All WOOF dogs are tested for Canine Good Citizen. The inmates receive certificates in dog CPR, training and grooming. Beginning November 21, 2011 the WOOF program will welcome 2 young dogs to be trained as service dogs to assist persons with disabilities along with the 6 new dogs for obedience training. The service dogs will be trained to assist their owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. To adopt a WOOF graduate, contact the Marion County Humane Society at

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