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Coyote Ridge dog program could use some help
September 24, 2019 at 5:00 am | Submitted by LUANN MORGAN Adams County Pet Rescue
Adams County Pet Rescue/courtesy photo David Leal shows off an assortment of crocheted items available for sale at Adams County Pet Rescue. All money raised goes to help support the Coyote Ridge Dogs program.
Each year, the Coyote Ridge Dogs program applies for money from the state. Unfortunately, they received nothing for 2018 and are concerned about this year as they haven’t heard the status of their latest request.
“It only takes $1,000 to get us through a year, so we use the money sparingly,” said Kendra Mullins, one of the coordinators for the program. “If we had more, we could benefit more by replacing some of the old items with new.”
The Ridge Dogs was started in 2010. A prison-based program at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, inmates are paired with dogs that need training. Most of the dogs come from Adams County Pet Rescue. The idea is to work with dogs to make them adoptable.
Mullins said all the dogs are either strays or owner surrenders. Most of the problems they see run from minor behavior issues to aggressions. Once trained, they are either sent back to the shelter or they are adopted directly from Coyote Ridge.
“A lot don’t go back to the shelter,” Mullins said.
Inmates are screened for the program based on their crime, how long they have on their sentence and behavior. They must file an application as acceptance means it’s a job for them. Then they attend a panel interview with others who have already been trainers.
“We rate them and hire them or not,” Mullin said.
Dogs are appointed through a process called “shopping,” where the inmates go to ACPR and see the dogs firsthand.
“Lately, we’ve only had some basic issues with the dogs,” Mullins said. “We’ve had a good group the last few months.”
Valerie Turner, Mullins’ co-coordinator, said sometimes the shelter calls with a dog in particular need of the program. They also often take pregnant dogs and litters.
“The most common issue is dogs with bad habits – they have no training and no manners,” Turner said. “They are usually not aggressive; they just don’t know better.”
Trainers and animals are paired based on the inmate’s experience and the needs of the dog, Turner said.
On average, dogs stay in the program for four to six weeks, although some have taken up to six months. Dogs that are in the program for longer periods are rotated between trainers.
“It helps with separation,” Mullins said. “Some dogs bond with the trainers more than others.”
The Ridge Dogs uses positive-based training, beginning with basic commands.
“We don’t say no,” Mullins said. “All attention is positive.”
In addition to the $1,000 to run the program each year, they also depend on the shelter to provide basic needs for the dogs, such as food. But without that $1,000, all involved are concerned with the future of the program and they have begun a fundraising project to help. Several inmates crochet and-or knit stuffed dogs and cats to sell. They also make hats.
“They do this throughout the year and make up lots of items,” Mullins said.
The items are sold at adoption events throughout the year and ACPR has a number on hand for sale, as well. In order to make the items, they are accepting donations of yarn and patterns for anything animal-related.
All colors are welcome and they also accept donations for beading and sewing, as well as art supplies. They could use rolls of canvas, along with paints, colored pencils and pastels.
Mullins said staff involved in the program are all volunteer, including two additional workers who help part-time.
Turner said the program helps the inmates because it is so positive.
“They learn responsibility, discipline and patience,” she said. “They also learn selflessness, which helps them a lot.”
Both Turner and Mullins said they receive a lot of support from management, thanks in part by the success rate of the program. They have had no inmates return to the prison who worked with the program.
“We get updates every now and then,” Mullins said. “One of our dogs went to another program to help with the training; another went to the Shriners, who use it for disaster relief.”
Mullins said it is definitely worth a look at some of the videos posted on Facebook. There, you will find a variety of success stories. The program has graduated some 5,000 dogs since it began.
To help support the program, donations can be dropped off at ACPR or Coyote Ridge.
Adams County Pet Rescue is located at 1961 Bench Road east of the fairgrounds. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The facility is closed Mondays and Thursdays for cleaning.
To contact ACPR, call (509) 488-5514 or email adopt@AdamsCountyPetRescue. Be sure to visit the website at www.adamscountypetrescue.com and like their Facebook page.
Copyright: 2018 Adams County Pet Rescue