Canine U.T.O.P.I.A Class Graduates

By: Charlene Cristobal
August 28, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Heidi was one of the 85 animals that were rescued from a home off Gunter Street back in May. She's come a long way since then.

"She was very nervous when she came to the shelter so we were concerned that perhaps she would have some difficulty being adopted," said Perri Dale with Tallahassee Animal Services. "She was very shy, wouldn't come out from the back of her kennel, so we decided to put her through this program."

Heidi, along with Boise, Cher, Tiger, Harley, Rocket and Ms. Diamond were all recently released from a two month stay in prison.

"Some of our dogs that would otherwise be un-adoptable, we send them to the prison for eight weeks," said Dale. "They go through basic obedience training. And when they graduate, they're highly adoptable animals."

And Thursday, was graduation day. Inmates at the Perry Correctional Institute help train the dogs as part of the Tallahassee Animal Service's U.T.O.P.I.A program which stands for Undergoing Training and Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability.

But the program does a lot more than just rehabilitate these animals. It also allows the inmates to get some help as well.

"They're wonderful," said Ann English with Tallahassee Animal Services. "They actually cry when we pick them up a lot of times because they have created that tight bond. We've even had dogs that try to get back in to the prison once we pull them out."

Besides Cher, the brindle and white pit bull mix, all of the dogs are still up for adoption. If you would like more information on how to adopt one of these furry graduates, click here.

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