2013-08-01 / Social

Leader Dogs to Be Raised at Prison Facility


A Leader Dogs for the Blind group takes time for a photograph during an inspection visit at Chippewa Correctional Facility. Pictured (from left) are Rob Batho, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor/ Chippewa Correctional Facility, leader dog Tripp, Deb Donnelly, Leader Dogs for the Blind Puppy Development Supervisor, future leader dog Strider, Tammy Bartz, Leader Dog Puppy Counselor, future leader dog Harper, Patti Brehler, Leader Dog Puppy Counselor, future leader dog Dutch, Paula Bardsley, and Dave Bardsley. (Photograph provided by Robert Beaulieu) A Leader Dogs for the Blind group takes time for a photograph during an inspection visit at Chippewa Correctional Facility. Pictured (from left) are Rob Batho, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor/ Chippewa Correctional Facility, leader dog Tripp, Deb Donnelly, Leader Dogs for the Blind Puppy Development Supervisor, future leader dog Strider, Tammy Bartz, Leader Dog Puppy Counselor, future leader dog Harper, Patti Brehler, Leader Dog Puppy Counselor, future leader dog Dutch, Paula Bardsley, and Dave Bardsley. (Photograph provided by Robert Beaulieu) Members of Chippewa Correctional Facility’s level 1 housing unit at Kinross will help raise four puppies for a pilot program for Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Organizers of the program believe that the prisoner-raised puppies are most likely to succeed in providing a decade of enhanced mobility, independence, and quality of life for visually impaired clients.

According to Leader Dog representatives, puppies placed in homes experience a 40% success rate in being placed with a client, while puppies raised in a prison experience a 65% success rate of being placed with a client.

In a coordinated effort between staff and prisoners, the facility will receive the puppies at seven weeks old and will train the dogs for approximately one year in social and obedience skills necessary for future placement with a blind person.

Chippewa Correctional Facility will be the first prison in Michigan offering the Leader Dog for the Blind Program.

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