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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


Media Advisory
July 22, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Communications Director
(850) 488-0420

Reporters invited to Graduation of Inmate-Trained Dogs at Martin Correctional Institution's Work Camp

Martin CI dogs and their Trainers
Our graduating class of DAWGS and their handlers.

Indiantown – Martin Correctional Institution’s Work Camp in conjunction with Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans will be hosting a graduation ceremony for its Beacon Among Rescued K-9’s (BARK) program. 
BARK is a Department of Corrections program designed for inmates to train rescue dogs from local shelters for placement with disabled veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who are in need of emotional support. Some of the dogs will be selected to continue training to become Service dogs for Disabled Veterans. Depending on the needs of the disabled veteran receiving the dog, the dog will be trained to assist owners in standing, turning on light switches, dialing 911, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more.

Members of the media are encouraged to attend and to photograph/videotape and   interview volunteers, inmates, and others involved in the program.

WHEN: Friday, August 5, 2011 at 9:00 a.m, at Martin Correctional Institution’s Work Camp.

WHY: BARK is an inmate vocational program. Inmates involved train and care for the dogs and can earn vocational certificates in dog grooming and training. The program is a part of the Florida Department of Corrections re-entry initiative, which is focused on preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society. These inmates will one day return to Florida communities, like 88 percent of all Florida inmates. This program helps teach the inmates confidence, commitment, and compassion.

OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans http://www.dogs4disabledveterans.org, and the Humane Society of Saint Lucie County http://hsslc.org/.

DEPARTMENT CONTACT:  If you wish to attend the BARK graduation ceremony, please contact Kathy Conner at (772)468-4068 or 559-4426 or e-mail conner.kathy@mail.dc.state.fl.us, several days before the scheduled graduation, as background checks will need to be completed.

DIRECTIONS TO MARTIN WORK CAMP: Take I-95 to Exit 110 (State Road 714); go west to 4-way stop sign. Turn right onto SR-609. Martin is approximately three miles on the left.