The Victorian Coalition Government has celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Prison Pet Partnership, a highly successful program using pet ownership to help rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of prisoners while retraining retired greyhounds so they can be adopted as pets into loving homes.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine, Minister for Corrections Andrew McIntosh and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) Chief Executive Adam Wallish visited Dhurringile Prison today to celebrate the Prison Pet Partnership, which has seen more than 250 dogs placed in the care of minimum security prisoners over the past five years.
“The Prison Pet Partnership is an excellent program that not only helps with the rehabilitation of prisoners, but also assists the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) in retraining greyhounds before they are adopted into homes when their racing careers are over,” Dr Napthine said.
“Under the guidance of GRV and GAP staff, prisoners take on the responsibility of being caretakers of the greyhounds with four dogs at a time going through the six-week integration and obedience course.
“This gives the prisoners a connection to the world outside the prison walls before their release,” Dr Napthine said.
Mr McIntosh said the program had proved to be an innovative way for prisoners to show their commitment to rehabilitation.
“The prisoners who take part in the Prison Pet Partnership benefit from having the responsibility of caring for the dogs. It also gives them the opportunity to give something back to the community,” Mr McIntosh said.
Mr Wallish said the foster care process is an integral component in re-homing greyhounds as it helps socialise dogs and introduces them to aspects of being a household pet like walking on slippery floors, climbing stairs and household noises, all of which are foreign to greyhounds used to being brought up on a farm or in racing kennels.
“GAP’s pool of dedicated foster carers changes regularly as people often fall in love with the greyhounds and end up keeping them. It’s great to know that we can rely on Dhurringile Prison as well as Tarrengower Prison to foster around 70 greyhounds between them each year,” Mr Wallish said.
“The success of the Prison Pet Partnership has been amazing, particularly in getting results with greyhounds who need a little extra attention.”
Dr Napthine said the Victorian Coalition Government had committed $1 million over four years to support the Greyhound Adoption Program.
“The GAP has been a great success since its establishment having re-housed more than 4,000 greyhounds since its establishment. The Coalition Government is working closely with GRV and GAP to increase this number substantially and find great homes for what are great pets,” Dr Napthine said.