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Oklahoma Department of Corrections Opens New Kennel for Program Teaching Inmates Dog Training

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections opened a new, almost 3,000 square foot dog kennel Tuesday at its medium-security women’s prison.

It’s for the Guardian Angels Program, which teaches women at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center to train dogs for adoption or work as service animals. Participants learn job skills ahead of release.

"And also, there’s nothing quite like the love of an animal that you’re entrusted with taking care of, that you’re responsible for. As dog owners, we all know about that, but they’ve never really had anything like that before, most of them," said DOC spokesman Matt Elliott.

The Serelda Cody Dog Training Facility houses 10 indoor/outdoor kennels, a grooming area with equipment, a washer and dryer for towels and bedding, and an exercise yard with agility equipment and a walking path.

"It’s almost like a sanctuary for the people who participate in it, and it’s, I think, something that they look forward to and that more than just they and the animals benefit from," Elliott said.

The Guardian Angels Program is a collaboration between DOC and CareerTech. CareerTech instructors also worked with inmates to build the Serelda Cody Dog Training Facility.

"We really have to thank Career Tech for working with our women and teaching them the trades of construction, things like that, that they need to have in order to be able to work on a building, but also involve them and then be as committed as they have been to this process," Elliott said.

Guardian Angels has placed 123 dogs since 2014.