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Procedure Properties

Title: Pups in Prison
Category: Offender Management
Version: 01
Implement Date: 29 August 2006
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public


Appendices and Forms



  • Assistance Dogs Australia Code of Practice
  • Animal Welfare League Agreement

Performance Measures

  • Nil

Procedure - Pups in Prison

2.Prisoner selection
3.Animal Housing
4.Care of Dogs
4.1Health Care
4.4Diet and preparation/storage of food
5.Access to facilities by provider organisation representatives/trainers
6.Home Visits


To provide a program where low security prisoners undertake the care and training of dogs.

1. Process

The program will support agencies with the care and socialisation of pups/dogs, with the ultimate aim of providing obedience/specialist training and supporting the survival of the animals along with increasing prisoners' successful reintegration back into the community. The pups are cared for until they reach an age where they are returned to the providing agency for placement. All organisations/companies involved in the placement of pups/dogs in corrective services facilities are required to be qualified and/or certified to provide the service.

The general manager of the corrective services facility or nominee must, at a minimum-

  1. identify a project coordinator to oversee the program;
  2. assist provider organisation with access to the facility;
  3. provide sufficient quantities of food and water for animal good health and well being;
  4. select and assess suitable prisoners for the program;
  5. ensure 24 hour emergency veterinary services are available (in consultation with the provider organisation);
  6. check hygiene of animal housing;
  7. provide adequate external grounds for exercise during the day;
  8. supervise the daily feeding, watering and inspection of animals to ensure their wellbeing; and
  9. collate and maintain program records of animal and prisoner progress reports.

The project coordinator must maintain a register listing all pups/dogs entering the corrective services facility. Administrative form - Pup Profile Record must be completed for each pup/dog and attached to the register.

2. Prisoner selection

The general manager will assess the suitability of prisoners to undertake the function of carer for the pups/dogs. The selection process will be undertaken as part of an offender management plan review.

The general manager must consider the nature of a prisoner's offending, including any outstanding charges, when determining the suitability of a prisoner to participate in the program. Prisoners who have been charged or convicted of offences against animals are not eligible for selection and must not participate in the program or have any contact with a pup/dog.

To be considered for selection, a prisoner must have demonstrated positive institutional conduct and show a keen interest in program participation.

Participants should be assessed by a psychologist at the facility as mentally stable and be capable of accepting responsibility. Carers should be put on a two-week probation period to determine whether or not the program is appropriate for them.

An appropriate number of prisoners to counter any turn over in participants will need to be selected.

Participants who-

  1. fail to keep the pup's/dog's area clean;
  2. fail to spend enough time with the pup/dog; or
  3. neglect or harm the pup/dog in any manner

will be removed from the program. Administrative form - Pup Carer Contract should be signed by participants acknowledging that if he/she fails to obey the contract, he/she will be removed from the program.

3. Animal Housing

Animal housing areas within a corrective services facility must be inspected by a representative from a provider organisation and comply with organisational standards before pups/dogs can be housed. Animal housing must-

  1. provide sufficient space to accommodate between four to six pups/dogs;
  2. provide suitable ventilation and protection from the elements including the provision where necessary, of heating and cooling;
  3. have floors made of an impervious material to allow adequate cleaning, disinfection and drainage;
  4. be cleaned daily (including the removal of faeces) and disinfected once a week, before new pups/dogs are introduced and after an outbreak of infectious disease;
  5. provide shaded areas and natural sunlight; and
  6. provide measures for pest control, including fleas, ticks, flies, lice, mites, mosquitoes and rodents.

More information regarding housing conditions will be given by the provider organisation.

4. Care of Dogs

Refer to the Code of Practice/Agreement between the provider organisation and the Department.

Corrective services officers and prisoners should be instructed to notify the program coordinator of any symptoms of malaise or injury, regardless of how minor it appears to be.

Facilities must be available for isolation of the pup/dog if required. The general manager or nominee should contact the provider organisation before making arrangements for transportation to a veterinary surgery.

4.1 Health Care

Daily health checks should be conducted in conjunction with the pup/dog carer and supervisory staff. Refer appendix - Pup Health Care.

4.2 Medication

The project coordinator is responsible for the storage and distribution of daily medication (if required) to pups/dogs. The project coordinator must store medication in a secure area. Prisoners must not be permitted to store medication that is intended for pups/dogs. Pup/dog carers will be notified of processes and specified times when the pups/dogs are to receive medication.

All medications given to a pup/dog must be recorded on administrative form - Pup Profile Record.

4.3 De-sexing

All female pups housed in a corrective services facility must be de-sexed at approximately seven months of age. De-sexing is the responsibility of the provider organisation.

4.4 Diet and preparation/storage of food

The pups/dogs must be given appropriate, uncontaminated and nutritionally adequate food according to the requirements for the breed and the age (The provider organisation will provide dietary advice upon delivery of the pup/dog).

Food should be prepared hygienically and served in clean containers which should be cleaned daily. Fresh water must be available at all times.

Food should be stored appropriately, with dry food kept in a rodent-free place and fresh meat kept refrigerated.

4.5 Exercise

Dogs/pups must have the opportunity to exercise daily as instructed by the provider organisation upon delivery of the dog/pup. Carers should be taught the signs for a tired or stressed animal and how to effectively respond to the situation.

4.6 Death

If a pup/dog dies whilst housed in a corrective services facility, the project coordinator must contact the providing organisation to arrange for the collection and disposal of the deceased animal.

5. Access to facilities by provider organisation representatives/trainers

Representatives/trainers from provider organisations must be security cleared and approved to visit before entering a corrective services facility. Proof of identification must be provided upon entry. Refer procedure - Visitors to a Facility (Excluding Personal Visitors)

6. Home Visits

The project coordinator should liaise with the provider organisation to develop a schedule for each pup/dog to leave the corrective services facility with a nominated corrective services officer for the purpose of home visits. This forms part of the pups/dogs socialisation process. Officers who take a pup/dog for a home visit must record the details of the visit using administrative form - Request for Home Visit.

7. Transport

Pups/dogs should be transported in cages where provided by the organisation. Pups/dogs must never be kept in parked vehicles under any circumstances.

F P Rockett

Version History

29/08/2006 Version 01