A new inmate K-9 training program, Fostering Freedom, began this week at the Bulloch County Correctional Institute (BCCI), with assistance from Bulloch County Animal Services.

About the program

This program is designed for inmates to teach rescue dogs skills and behaviors that would help them become adoptable pets, while also striving to help the inmate build life skills that could prevent them from returning to prison.

Inmates can request to be a part of this program by writing an essay and going through a screening process to determine if they are eligible to be assigned a dog and what type of dog will work best.

Eligible detainees will cohabitate with the dogs, provide training, and ensure feeding and grooming for up to six weeks. The BCCI has recently received an inmate with a great deal of experience with this program from another facility and this inmate will assist others with their animals.

Upon completion of the Fostering Freedom program, the inmates can be certified through the Central Georgia Technical College in Animal Training and Animal Caretaking.

“Bulloch County is also in the early stages of a possible partnership with Ogeechee Technical College’s Veterinary Tech program in hopes that they can help train inmates in grooming techniques and more,” says Cindy Steinmann, Assistant County Manager. “We feel this could be a partnership that can benefit everyone involved, as well as dogs from the shelter that may otherwise be unadoptable for various reasons.”

Bulloch County Animal Services

While two dogs were assigned at the BCCI this week, the program is expected to turn out more than 15 adoptable animals per year. King, a Pit Bull mix, and Chief, a Rottweiler mix, are the first two dogs to be entered into the program.

“We are excited about this program that the BCCI presented to us,” says Wendy Ivey, Bulloch County Animal Services Director. “We will provide the animals, food, supplies and other support so that the dogs have the opportunity to gain skills that will give them a better chance at being adopted.”

“There are multiple facilities across the state that run this type of program and they have been very successful,” says Deputy Warden Jack Koon.  Over “90% of our offenders at the BCCI return back to their communities and this program is an additional opportunity to equip them with tools for their release, while giving back to the community at the same time through providing adoptable animals.”

For more information on the Fostering Freedom program, please contact Deputy Warden Jack Koon at (912) 764-0246.