Boys in custody help care for pups

Boys in custody help care for pups

Animal Welfare League NSW delighted with early success of fostering project

The Animal Welfare League NSW is delighted with the early success of a project involving boys at Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre, Western Sydney, in fostering and training young dogs.

The project began after AWL responded to a call from a youth worker at Reiby, proposing a dog fostering program at the centre.

Reiby is a Juvenile Justice Centre at Airds, near Campbelltown, run by the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice Division. The centre caters for boys under 16 both on remand and control orders – offering them health, education and training in work and living skills in a custodial setting.

A group of detainees from the centre’s Waratah Pre-release Unit was invited to meet a group of dogs at the AWL’s Kemps Creek shelter. With guidance, they selected Millie – who they renamed Indi – an American Staffi cross who had come into the care of the League last year as an eight-week-old puppy in a litter of four.

Two detainees who had undergone dog training skills at the Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre were appointed her primary carers/trainers. Staff at Reiby provided hands-on supervision.

Reiby proved an ideal environment for raising puppies – with 24/7 care and excellent training. Indi, a smart and playful dog, was effectively taught all the basic commands – and even learned to live with chickens! She was taken on supervised excursions to the beach, where she loves a good swim.

She is now ready to be adopted.

Says AWL Senior Behaviourist Rose Horton: “Dogs and humans are not the same – but we have some things in common. Our young ones need discipline, care and affection, skills training, and positive reinforcement of acceptable behaviour. In providing this to the dogs in their care, the boys are reinforcing it in themselves – enhancing their own future. It’s a classic win/win outcome.

“We congratulate the boys and the wonderful Reiby staff. We’re very happy with our first step, and hope to continue the project with other dogs.”