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Hutchinson Prison Ends Service Dog Training Program

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N A I T, flickr Creative Commons
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Staffing shortages at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility have resulted in the end of a partnership allowing inmates to train service dogs.

The correctional facility has worked with Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services, or CARES, since 2009. Since then, 125 inmates have been involved in the basic training of 245 service dogs.

The prison had one full-time officer overseeing the program, but because of an on-going hiring shortage that officer is now in a security job.

“We had to make the decision of one or the other, and it was more important to have that person in a security position,” says the Kansas Department of Corrections' Adam Pfannenstiel.

Pfannenstiel says the program was a benefit, not only to the future owners of the dogs, but also to the inmates.

“The training of these dogs helped out a lot of people," Pfannenstiel says. "Hopefully later on down the road maybe something will change that will allow us to establish this partnership once more.”

Dogs that would have been sent to Hutchinson will now go to either Ellsworth Correctional Facility or an out-of-state prison.

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