Media Day to Promote New Handcuffs to Healing Program
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE Vincent F. DeMarco, Suffolk County Sheriff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristin MacKay, Sheriff’s Office: Cell: (631) 987-0706; Email: Kristin.MacKay@suffolkcountyny.gov
or Jackie Bondanza, Hounds Town USA; Phone: (631) 873-9486
(Yaphank, NY) On October 4th, members of the media are invited to join Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Michael Gould, President and Founder of Hounds Town Charities, along with representatives from the Brookhaven Town Animal Shelter, for a special demonstration of how county inmates are learning to train homeless dogs that will soon be put up for adoption. The program, called Handcuffs to Healing, started in mid-September and will run for 6 consecutive weeks.
The demonstration for members of the media will be held at the Yaphank Jail from 12-1 pm and is to raise awareness of the initiative and improve the prospects for adoption of the six shelter dogs participating in the training. The goal of Handcuffs to Healing is also two-fold; the six inmates participating in the program are learning valuable skills which may someday lead to employment in the field. All are sentenced to county time and considered low risk offenders.
Michael Gould, the founder of Hounds Town USA, and the charitable organization, Hounds Town Charities, is a former commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Canine Unit and an NYPD canine handler. He, along with Barbara Dennihy, the New York Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), met with Sheriff DeMarco in the spring to pitch the idea of a dog training program for county inmates — and the Sheriff agreed to run it as a pilot initiative.
The dogs from the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter were selected by Gould with the help of shelter director Ashley Boyd, who was very instrumental in facilitating the process. Dogs had to meet three criteria: they had to be in need of a good home; social with other dogs; and friendly with people. After the six dogs were selected, they were transported to Hounds Town Charities where they stayed for several days before being introduced to the inmates. Throughout the course of the program, the dogs will continue to reside at Hounds Town Charities in Ronkonkoma so they enjoy socialization in a consistent environment. They will be ready for adoption in late October.
Directions: The entrance to the Suffolk County Correctional Facility is located at the end of Glover Drive in Yaphank. The GPS address is 200 Glover Drive, Yaphank.