Rock County Jail pairs ‘unadoptable’ dogs and inmates

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rock County Jail hopes that relationships between dogs and their owners can help certain inmates overcome addiction issues.

It’s part of the Canine Corrections Academy, which was designed to provide a second chance to unadoptable dogs and inmates suffering from drug addiction.

“I think dogs all have their own unique personalities, and their own unique issues,” said Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson.

Willow is one of thousands of shelter dogs in need of a little tender loving care before she can find her forever home.

“I did see Willow when she first got here, and I’m already seeing some improvements in her behavior,” Knudson said. “The inmates work with the dogs to attempt to deal with some of the issues they may have, and we try to get them trained to the point where they’d be good dogs for somebody to adopt.

“We’ve been successful in a majority of the cases, of the dogs that we’ve received,” he continued.

“Unadoptable” dogs are matched with inmates enrolled in the Rock County Jail RECAP program for substance abuse.

“I’ve been working with Willow for almost a month now,” said Brandon Huber, an inmate who’s Willow’s handler-in-training.

“Working with these dogs…I guess you do feel a sense of accomplishment in helping them, from coming from the Humane Society and just training them to interact with people,” Huber said.

After eight weeks in the program, Willow will likely be adopted out, which will be an accomplishment for Huber.

“One of the things this program does is teach people how to care for somebody else,” Knudson said. “It really teaches them to think beyond themselves. I think, for some people, that’s a new skill and it’s a very valuable thing to learn.”

Since the program’s start in 2014, twenty-seven dogs have passed through it. Inmates have helped seventeen off them find forever homes.

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