The program is a joint venture with Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) that will provide a new program opportunity for female inmates and improve animal welfare in the greyhound industry.
Up to six dogs at any one time will be cared for at kennels within the women’s Dillwynia Correctional Centre at Windsor.
“This is a great opportunity to give families a new loving pet and at the same time help to rehabilitate female inmates through learning new skills,” Mr Costa said.
“The program is based on the principles of discipline and responsibility, which are areas many inmates need to focus on to modify behavior that has led to imprisonment.
“There are currently four inmate handlers attending TAFE to study subjects including Animal Welfare and Enrichment for Animals.
“The inmates are learning skills and obtaining qualifications that will improve their employment prospects upon release from prison.
“The dogs have arrived at their new temporary home and are settling in well with their handlers.
Each dog will remain at Dillwynia for eight weeks before being release to their new families,” he said.
Mr Costa said the majority of construction to facilitate the new program had been completed by Corrective Service Industries Overseers and Correctional Officers with skills such as concreting, roofing and plumbing.
“The result is a fantastic complex made up of six insulated kennels and runs, an electronic spray misting system and complete shade coverage.
Chief Executive of Greyhound Racing NSW Brent Hogan has welcomed the addition of Corrective Services NSW to the Greyhounds as Pets program.
“Greyhounds as Pets program has already been successful in rehoming 70 former racing greyhounds into family homes in its first 18 months, and we expect this number to grow significantly with the introduction of this partnership,” Mr Hogan said.
“The Greyhounds as Pets program is seen as a significant part of the sport’s response to greyhound welfare issues and these new kennels will assist us to expand the program in the future.
“The dogs are ideal for families because they are very affectionate, do not shed much fur, are very clean, require little exercise and have little or no bark.
“It’s a great collaboration between the NSW Department of Corrections Services and Greyhound Racing NSW to find homes for retired or unsuccessful greyhounds and help inmates develop new skills,” Mr Hogan said.