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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions

Appendix VII:
Canine Standing Orders


1. To provide offenders an opportunity to participate in the canine

program which has the following goals:

  • to provide shelter for homeless dogs which have the potential to be trained as family pets and as assistants to the physically disabled;
  • to make trained dogs available for adoption by the above mentioned;
  • to teach inmates the skills associated with canine care and training
  • to foster responsibility and nurturing for the dogs in a manner that promotes the inmate’s self-esteem and provides therapeutic benefit; and
  • to promote ties with the community and to provide a valuable service to the community.


2. Programs for federally sentenced women are carried out under the following authorities:

  • The Corrections and Conditional Release Act. 76-80
  • CD 701 - Case Management and Special Needs of Federal Female Offenders
  • CD 730 - Inmate Program Assignment and Pay
  • The Correctional Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women - July 1994

3. The specific authority for the canine program at Nova Institution is in accordance with the contract for that program approved by the Regional Deputy Commissioner.


4. A Steering Committee comprised of the Canine Instructor, the Team Leader Programs, a volunteer staff member, and two community members having canine expertise, shall guide the operation of the Canine Program. The Steering Committee shall meet not less than once each quarter.



5. The Team Leader Programs is responsible for the overall administration of the canine program.

6. The Instructor for the canine program is responsible for:

a. the overall operation of the canine program and for the welfare and maintenance of the dogs in the facility and externally as required including veterinary care. The instructor is responsible, in consultation and collaboration with Nova Institution staff, for all issues which may arise with respect to cleanliness, training and health;

b. ensuring the instructor, or the instructor’s delegate, is available on an on-call basis to assist with dog problems and/or to remove the dog(s) if and when deemed necessary by the canine instructor and/or Institutional Management;

c. ensuring the care of a dog is arranged in the absence of any dog handler for reasons of temporary absence, illness, etc.

d. providing ongoing monitoring and reporting of the dog handlers’ progress towards the objectives of the program.

7. Primary Workers are responsible for:

a. general attention to the cleanliness of the houses and ground as per their normal duties;

b. discussing their concerns with respect to individual handlers and dogs with the canine program instructor and/or his or her supervisor.

c. reporting to the Oi/c any sign of aggression displayed by a dog or inappropriate training by the inmate handler whereby the Canine Program Instructor will be advised and the dog will be removed from Nova Institution. (Dog handlers are made aware of this consequence upon acceptance into the program).

d. ensuring normal security measures apply in the operation of the program.

8. Inmate Dog Handlers are responsible for:

a. training only one dog at a time;

b. all routine dog care such as feeding, watering, toileting and inside/outside cleanup related to the dog;

c. encouraging tricks such as shade a paw, roll over, jump, twist, bow, play ball, etc.;

d. exercising the dogs outdoors in accordance with a schedule established by the Canine Instructor and Management, at the same time recognizing with Oi/c of the Institution may change a time in schedule to meet operational requirements;

e. ensuring dogs are on a leash at all times when not in the dog handler’s room until successful completion of the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test when the dog will either be adopted back out into the community or begin training as an Assistance Dog. At this time, off-leash training will commence only with the agreement of the Canine Instructor, Institutional Management, the dog handler and other house residents before the trainer will have access to other parts of the house with the dog;

f. ensuring that dogs are not encouraged or trained to bark, or make aggressive approaches to other dogs or people;

g. recognizing that if a dog handler is not complying with institutional rules, the dog will be removed from Nova Institution and returned to the Canine Program Instructor for a length of time as determined appropriate by the Canine Program Instructor and Nova Institution Management;

h. recognizing that if the handler is transferred to higher security or released, the dog in her care will be returned to the Canine Program Instructor;

i. recognizing that the dog will not accompany an inmate into the community outside the perimeter of Nova Institution unless it is a part of the objectives set out in relation to the program and the inmate’s correctional plan, and in keeping with her appropriate security considerations.


9. Dogs will be removed from the program in the following circumstances:

a. growling or other display of aggression towards humans or excessive aggression towards other dogs (after review by Canine Program Instructor of the circumstances);

b. if the inmate is placed in segregation or moved from the Institution;

c. if the inmate is removed from the Program by Canine Program Instructor due to failure to properly care for and/or train the dog;

d. if the dog, in judgement of Canine Program Instructor, is no longer suitable for the program.


10. Should any staff member or inmate indicate he or she is allergic to the dogs at Nova Institution, he or she is encouraged to seek medical advice. In cases where an allergic reaction to the dogs is medically confirmed, arrangements will be made to alleviate the situation, on a case-by-case basis.


11. A schedule of out-of-house privileges for the dogs shall be specified in memorandum and communicated to all staff and inmates. A copy of the memorandum shall be maintained in the Policy Binder in the Duty Room.


12. Program changes affecting the operation of the institution shall be communicated to all staff in a timely manner.


13. Should a situation arise where it is necessary to extract a FSW Canine Handler from her room, the procedures specified in CD 605.1 Cell Extraction shall apply.


CCRA - s.76, s.80

CD 701 - Case Management and Special Needs of Female Offenders

CD 730 - Inmate Program Assignment and Pay

CD 290 - Security Policy

CD 245 - Occupational Safety and Health