Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls has launched Victoria’s second Prison Pet Partnership program to help retrain retired greyhounds at Tarrengower Prison, Maldon.
Mr Hulls said the award-winning program, already in place at Dhurringile Prison in Murchison, had been highly successful in rehabilitating dogs and providing prisoners with an opportunity to get involved in a positive activity.
“Greyhounds are strong, energetic and athletic animals as racing dogs, but once their competitive career is over they need to be trained to adjust to their new environment so they can live out the rest of their lives as household pets,” Mr Hulls said.
“This program is not only good for the greyhounds, it also provides prisoners with a legitimate connection to the world outside the prison walls and helps them prepare for their eventual release and integration back into the community.”
Mr Hulls said Tarrengower prison, a minimum security prison for females, last month finished building four kennels in preparation for the Pet Prison Partnership.
“As part of the Prison Pet Partnership, each greyhound goes through a six-week integration and obedience course under the guidance of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and a prisoner specifically chosen to be a caretaker,” Mr Hulls said.
“The program has been so successful it has integrated 68 rehabilitated dogs back into society since the pilot started at Dhurringile on September 18, 2007.
“Two former racing dogs are now in place here at Tarrengower and once they’ve settled in and the carers are comfortable with handling, feeding and training routines, this program will expand to have four dogs rotating through here at a time.”
Mr Hulls said the latest instalment of the Prison Pet Partnership program further proved its worth as an innovative initiative of GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP).
“For more than 12 years now the Greyhound Adoption Program has been successfully retraining retired and unsuccessful racing dogs as household pets through GRV’s Seymour adoption facility and foster homes,” Mr Hulls said.
“It’s a great collaboration between Corrections Victoria and GAP to find homes for retired or unsuccessful greyhounds and help prisoners in the process.
“GAP has been able to find homes for more than 3000 greyhounds since the program began in 1996.”