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[Gloversville, New York] The Fulton County Regional SPCA is proud to announce the PAWSativity Program, a collaboration with the Hale Creek Correctional Facility.


PAWSativity was inspired by a similar program, Path to Home, at the Orleans Correctional Facility. “I was approached by fellow volunteer and Supervising Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator, Maria Ringer-Abel, with the idea of joining forces” explains Renee Earl, SPCA President. “I knew this was a fantastic opportunity to not only help dogs in need but assist the incarcerated individuals at Hale Creek.” 


The Canine Handlers have been carefully selected and interviewed by Ms. Ringer-Abel and her staff as well as Earl. The two primary and two secondary handlers will be instructed each week by the SPCA’s in-house canine trainer, Jennifer Lacosse of Lady and the Leash K9 Training. The dogs enrolled in the program will learn basic obedience skills to help them become more adoptable. “Many of the dogs that come through our shelter have never been taught rules or manners or experienced love and affection” notes Earl. “This program will help them experience all of that. It will give Handlers a sense of accomplishment, responsibility, and the opportunity to give back to our community.” 


The dogs will be housed at Hale Creek until they are able to be adopted into their new homes. In addition to the training benefits, this will open kennel space at the shelter’s Gloversville Annex, allowing them to help more dogs.  


“I am so excited to launch this program at Hale Creek” states Ringer-Abel. “I have been working with incarcerated individuals since 2006. Many of the individuals at Hale Creek are making incredible progress towards becoming better parents, spouses, and giving back to their community. They are addressing substance abuse issues, self-esteem issues, and overall working to better themselves. Shelter dogs will provide emotional support to this population while receiving the socialization and attention necessary to ready them for a new home outside of the shelter. This is such an amazing opportunity to change so many lives, both human and canine.” 


“This program is the first of its kind in Fulton County and I am thrilled to not only be a part of it, but to take my training to a new level.” states Lacosse. “I have witnessed the positive outcomes these types of programs have had in other communities, and I am truly looking forward to making a difference.” 


The first dogs to enter the program will be eight-month-old Moe, a German Shepard mix and eight-month-old Mollie, a Lab mix. Moe and Mollie will be available for adoption upon completion of the program. 


“Everyone deserves a second chance, and all animals deserve a loving home. Why not do everything we can to make these situations as positive as possible? The world is full of so much negativity right now. We can sit back and do nothing, or we can be part of the change towards positivity. This is our step in that direction. And undoubtably puppy kisses can make that happen!” Says Earl. 


Fulton County Regional SPCA is a registered not for profit, donation funded, and volunteer run organization operating out of Gloversville, New York. They provide immediate shelter and care for homeless animals as well as community education, training, and public awareness. For more information on the shelter, volunteer opportunities, or adoptable dogs, visit www.fcrspca.org. For more information on The Hale Creek PAWSativity Program, contact Renee Earl at renee@fcrspca.org or Hale Creek Deputy Superintendent for Program Services William Close at William.close@doccs.ny.gov.  

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