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Canines, inmates gain new skills

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Dennis Hines | August 20, 2014

JANESVILLE -- Duke, a dog that once was considered shy, scared and unadoptable is ready for a loving home thanks to a  partnership between the Rock County Sheriff's Office and the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin.

The organizations recently teamed up to develop the Canine Corrections Academy, in which an inmate from the Rock County Education and Criminal Addiction Program works with a dog that is housed at the humane society to help it become adoptable.

Duke is the program's first graduate. Read the current edition here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/CSI-JanesvilleMessengerSunday

Brett Frazier, executive director for the humane society, said Duke was placed in the society's stray-hold program, then transferred to the Canine Corrections Academy shortly after the program was established.

“Duke was a little bit of a naughty boy,” Frazier said. “He was running away from the police department. We couldn't get him. He was showing signs of aggression. It didn't take long for our staff to get him, but it was an indicator that he was a very scared dog. Over the course of that stray-hold program, he lucked out. This program came together at just the right time for Duke. At the humane society, we're not a place where animals are stored. We're a place where animals come when they need help, and our goal is to get them in safe and loving homes as quick as we can.”

Ryan Lambert, who just completed the RECAP program, worked with retired deputies Don Miller and Matthew Pyne to help train Duke. During the course of a month, they trained the dog to learn commands like sit, stay and come, as well as skills to help him become adoptable.

“Ryan has done an incredible job taking a dog who was in a bad spot, who was nervous, who lacked confidence and was not adoptable,” Frazier said. “He transformed Duke into this beautiful, well-behaved dog. We're so proud of the success of this program.”

During a recent ceremony, Lambert received a certificate and Duke received a rawhide bone for completing the program. Sheriff Robert Spoden said he is pleased that the program has its first graduate.

“I didn't want it to be just a feel-good program. I wanted it to accomplish something,” Spoden said. “I wanted it to have some positive impact on the community. I didn't want it to be a publicity stunt. I wanted it to mean something.”

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