The Rock County Sherriff’s Office, along with the Humane Society introduced their first graduate of the Canine Corrections Academy, a unique partnership between jail inmates, who become trainers, and dogs -- in an effort to make the dogs adoptable pets.
Duke the dog can fetch, shake hands, and he knows when to stay. His trainer, inmate Ryan Lambert, has taught him well. Friday was graduation day for Lambert's canine companion.
Duke is ready to leave from the Rock County jail and go home with a new family.
"It was kind of hard for the both of us," says Lambert of the experience. "We both didn't really know what we were doing [at first]."
Lambert says he first thought he had bitten off more than he could chew, taking on the task of training Duke, but says his four weeks with the dog was anything but rough.
"After a while, it got easier and we just meshed very well," said Lambert at a press conference on Friday. "I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish."
The inmates at the Rock County jail say having a dog around lightens the mood.
Brett Frazier, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Humane Society says, "We knew that, whoever the handler was, [he] was going to form a very strong bond with a dog who really needed help."
Officials at the jail say not all inmates are eligible for the program. A very strict screening process is in place to select the right people for the puppies.
"We wanted to do it right, because it's more than just about one dog," continues Frazier. "It's about all the dogs that will come after, and all the inmate handlers who will have the opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of [these] pets.
If you are interested in adopting a dog that is a part of this program, contact the Wisconsin Humane Society.