The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Prison Pets Program at the Medium-Security Maryland Correctional Training Center Has Been Suspended After a Prison Worker and an Inmate Were Bitten by Dogs

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Prison Pets Program at the Medium-Security Maryland Correctional Training Center Has Been Suspended After a Prison Worker and an Inmate Were Bitten by Dogs

Hagerstown, Maryland  — Maryland's prison agency said Wednesday it has suspended one facility's program allowing inmates to prepare rescued pets for adoption after a prison worker and an inmate were bitten by dogs in separate incidents in recent months.

The civilian worker required stitches for a bite in the face, and the inmate suffered a puncture wound to his hand, a spokesman said.

The suspension of the Prison Pets program at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown does not affect animal-centered programs at nine other Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services institutions, including two programs similar to Prison Pets, spokesman Robert Thomas said. Most of the other programs involve inmates training service dogs.

Thomas said the Prison Pets program was launched at the 180-bed prison with good intentions but without higher approval of any guidelines or agreements with the animal shelters that supplied the dogs and cats, which otherwise would have been euthanized.

"We think the program has merit. It needs to be implemented in the correct way," Thomas said. He said agency officials hope to make a decision about the program's future by the end of January.

The Herald-Mail first reported the suspension Tuesday. In an earlier story in July, Warden Phil Morgan told the newspaper that the program, then a year old, had had "a total calming effect" on the prison's inmate population.

Thomas told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the warden or his representative should have made sure the program was properly approved. He said the warden sent authorization paperwork to an assistant Division of Correction commissioner last fall, but the assistant commissioner retired in November, apparently without taking action on the proposal.

The program adopted out 100 dogs and 30 cats, Thomas said. He said he expects the 26 animals remaining in the program to be adopted by Jan. 8.


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1 comment:

K said...

I would love to get involved in this type of program. I have over 15 years experience working with animals in shelter environments; including those who have been abused or have emotional/physical behavioral issues. Additionally, I am a RN. I can start lines, take blood, have vast knowledge regarding medical procedure and disease process, plus I have the passion and drive to acquire new and useful skills.

If my skill set is of any interest to you, please let me know how to get involved!

Kate