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January 20, 2013

An execution repreive, with a trip to prison, for pups in Texas

Here is a heartwarming story from a local paper in Texas running under the headline "Prison pups: Bully breeds given second chance at life."   Here is how the lengthy story gets started:

“All dogs go to heaven,” as the saying goes.  But in Venus, lucky pups go to prison.   The fortunate few are sprung from kill shelters by Hewitt-based Happy Endings Dog Rescue. The Sanders Estes Unit in Venus is home to 1,040 prisoners of varying degrees of lawlessness, and at times, as many as 20 dogs, including the unit’s mascot, a three-legged mutt named King Tut.

And like prisoners — many of whom say they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time — the dogs deserve a second chance, said Lt. Christine Chaplin who oversees the Paws of Hope dog training program at Sanders Estes.

Started in 2009 as a way to rehabilitate prisoners and make “unwanted” dogs — such as pit bulls, pit bull-mixes and Rottweilers — more adoptable, the program has helped save more than 120 dogs that would have otherwise been euthanized in kill shelters.

“Pit bulls and Rottweilers are two dogs that have a horrible name,” Chaplin said.  “They are over-bred and tossed aside ... I like the fact that they bring those because you can show people that they are great family dogs, that it’s not the dogs [that are bad] It’s the people.”

By the time they arrive at Sanders Estes, the dogs have already been through a “doggy boot camp” at Camp Diggy Bones, a boarding facility and shelter in Lavon, which works in conjunction with Happy Endings to ensure the pups are ready for adoption.  The adoption fee for any dog is $100.  Each is trained with basic commands, spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations.  “Between training and all that stuff, they’re a several thousand dollar dog by the time they leave here,” Chaplin said.

Management and Training Corporation contracts the Sanders Estes facility through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Chaplin said the goal of MTC is to help offenders get back into society.  Privilege programs like Paws of Hope benefit those serious about rehabilitation.

The dogs live prison cells with select trainers for 12 weeks and are around people 24 hours a day while they learn tricks, basic obedience and socialization.  At the end of three months, the dogs and their trainers attend a graduation ceremony, after which, if not immediately adopted, the dogs return to a rescue facility to wait for their forever home.

For reasons that will be obvious to regular readers, I hope that a particular new resident of the New York prison system (discussed in this recent post) does not have a chance to participate in this kind of puppy prison programming.

January 20, 2013 at 05:18 PM | Permalink


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Dogs do not yet have legal standing to sue. Lawyers are working on changing that shortcoming as we speak. Being placed in a cell with a sex starved ultra-violent prisoner is inhumane. Most ultra-violent predators had childhood histories of animal cruelty, and they have not changed with age. I can foresee a class action lawsuit driven by the outrages done to these dogs.

However, the cost of rehabbing a dog could buy many others that do not need rehab. I hope the dogs bite the inmates, they sue, and shut down the idiotic program with ruinous litigation. The bite of a pit bull or Rottweiler has the foreseeability of planetary orbits. They certainly qualify for strict liability being dangerous in their ordinary use, with no negligence needed. The full name of the pit bull is bull terrier. This little puppy is supposed to grasp onto the face of a charging, running bull, or of a bear (!), not let go at 20 mph or whatever the charging speeding of a bull is, and bring it to heel. What do you think it can do to a running human?

There are humans who take wolves into their homes, or keep grown tigers in their NYC apartments. This program reminds me of them.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 20, 2013 7:49:37 PM

My guess is that a dog or a cat in prison is safe as houses.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 20, 2013 8:35:31 PM

The story made me sad but made me also inspire about the lesson we can get here. By any means, its really a heartwarming story. :( But i love this story. THanks a lot for sharing this to us.

Posted by: Ohio University Emergency Notification | Jan 25, 2013 10:15:39 AM

Lawyers will change the rules soon

Posted by: sante | May 16, 2013 3:03:46 PM

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