Prison dog programs: Lots of love but lack of standards

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Experts say inmate dog-training programs can open the door to potential problems —from bites to smuggling — because of a lack common standards and central organization.
William Paterson University sociologist Gennifer Furst says more than half of state prison agencies have such programs, and there's strong demand for more. Yet no correctional or animal-welfare organization promotes broadly applicable standards for selecting animals and inmates to minimize security and liability risks.
The Humane Society of the United States says it's planning a panel discussion on prison programs at its annual animal sheltering conference in Las Vegas in May with an eye toward promoting best practices.
An Associated Press survey of 11 state agencies found that individual prisons sometimes partner with local animal shelters and rescue groups to create programs lacking detailed, written operating agreements.