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Cell Dogs

Introducing the Lee County Cell Dogs Program


The Lee County Cell Dogs Program is a unique partnership between Lee County Domestic Animal Services, the Gulf Coast Humane Society, The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, & K-Nine Connections.

The Cell Dogs Program places homeless shelter dogs to be obedience trained by carefully selected inmates. Each animal has one primary inmate trainer and at least one secondary inmate trainer.

Cell Dogs ProgramThe dog training program, taught by volunteers from K-Nine Connections, teaches inmates how to obedience train dogs during an intensive 8 to 12 week course. Upon graduation, the dogs are highly adoptable and possess obedience skills such as heel, sit, recall, and stay. They are house trained, leash trained, responsive to voice commands, and some hand signals. Not only does the Cell Dog Program give a second chance to these shelter animals, it also provides job skills to inmates in the areas of dog training, dog grooming and veterinary assistant skills.

Contact the Lee County Cell Dogs Program.


The Benefits For the inmates:

  • Participating inmates learn to redirect their focus from themselves to others
  • They learn valuable, marketable job skills
  • The inmates obtain a feeling of satisfaction as they volunteer their time to save an animal's life
  • The program also gives them an opportunity to return something positive back to the community--a healthy, well socialized and well adjusted pet

For LCSO:

  • Adds successful and popular vocational program
  • Improves inmate cooperation
  • Lowers recidivism
  • Inmates are more compliant with fewer violations
  • Promotes an institutional environment of less tension and violence while improving communication between staff and inmates

For the Community:

  • Lowers rate of euthanasia in Lee County’s animal shelters
  • Lowers costs for animal control
  • Provides well-trained dogs for adoption
  • Provides more productive members of society

The Partners

Lee County Domestic Animal Services has agreed to furnish specially selected animals to the Cell Dogs Program, as well as the food, supplies, and veterinary services. All animals are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and tested for heartworms. When the dogs have completed their training at the LCSO Community Programs Unit they are returned to Animal Services to be placed with a deserving owner.

Gulf Coast Humane Society has agreed to furnish specially selected animals to the Cell Dogs Program, as well as the food, supplies, and veterinary services. All animals are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and tested for heartworms. When the dogs have completed their training at the LCSO Community Programs Unit they are returned to Gulf Coast Humane Society to be placed with a deserving owner.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Community Programs Unit will provide the inmate “labor” to train the animals. The dogs will be housed in approved kennel crates inside the CPU housing units. (The crates provide the animal with a sense of comfort, while eliminating problems caused by an animal roaming a housing unit “off leash.”)

Working together, K-Nine Connections have volunteered their services to instruct the inmates in Obedience Training. Dogs completing the training will receive a certificate of accomplishment in Obedience Training. Dogs showing exceptional aptitude will be tested for The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program and will receive that award after successful testing. The inmates also receive a certificate of completion.