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Dr. Fanucchi
Dr. Leticia Fanucchi at the OSU teaching hospital

OSU professor helps Friends for Folks Inmate Dog Training Program

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Media Contact: Kinsey Reed | Communications Specialist | 405-744-6740 |

A great program with an even better story is a perfect way to describe the Friends for Folks Inmate Dog Training Program at the Mable Basset Correctional Center in McLoud, Oklahoma.

The program gives Oklahoma inmates the opportunity to give back to the community by training abandoned shelter dogs. For 11 weeks, each inmate is paired with an abandoned dog from the Oklahoma animal shelter.

The facility can house up to 20 dogs at a time. Inmates learn about dog training and are provided with other educational resources in a 625-square-foot classroom. In addition, there is a grooming room where participants can be trained to become dog groomers, which can lead to potential jobs when they are released from prison.

Throughout the 11 weeks, inmates will teach the dogs patience, provide consistent commands and are responsible for the dogs’ needs. The inmates are also responsible for helping prepare the dogs for adoption after the program's completion. Feeding, watering, grooming and much more are a few of the tasks the inmates are responsible for.

Dr. Leticia Fanucchi, an Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor and behavior service clinician, has played a vital role in the success of the prison dog program. Fanucchi's contribution to the program is the behavior service portion.

“I go every other month to the Mable Bassett Correctional Center to assess the new intakes and establish a protocol for those that need more than just training,” Fanucchi said.

Dogs that complete the program have a higher chance of being adopted. Inmates who assist in training the dogs are rewarded by knowing they have positively impacted the animal’s future.

Fanucchi said if a dog suffers from an anxiety-related disorder, she can treat them so they become more adoptable, which in return will reduce the chances of the animal being returned to the shelter.

“It is an honor that our college can be a small part in the success of this impactful program,” said Dr. Carlos Risco, OSU CVM dean.

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