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W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Announces Expansion To Central Ohio Prison

Now Providing Service Dogs To Children In Central Ohio

· Media,Press Release


August 16, 2017 - Mansfield, OH - Inmates at a Central Ohio prison will soon be training service dogs. Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) program is expanding their Accredited Apprenticeship Service Dog Training Program into the Mansfield Correctional Institution (MANCI), a level three prison institution within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, where about a dozen inmates will train the dogs to work with special-needs children, including expertise in Autism Assistance.

An expansion from W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Northeast Ohio program at the Grafton Correctional Institution (GCI) in Grafton, OH the MANCI program will allow W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to double their regional placement capabilities to provide services to families and children in 22 counties across Northeast and Central Ohio within the next 18 months. Training a dog can be expensive (Cost is $27,000 per dog), that’s why W.A.G.S. 4 Kids utilizes the talents of prison inmates. Inmates care for and work with the dogs 24/7. It’s a win-win situation for the children, the organization and the inmates themselves who learn a certified skill they can use when they are released from prison.

Jointly overseen by Executive Director Wendy Crann, Director of Operations - Central Ohio, Rodney Houghton, MANCI Unit Manager Jason Michel and MANCI Sgt. Russell Totman, Mansfield Correctional Institution will be the first level three prison within the state of Ohio to host the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Accredited Apprenticeship Service Dog Training Program. The MANCI Program will complement W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ mission to empower local children with disabilities by custom task-training service dogs that provide therapeutic, emotional and physical support for children with disabilities and their families.

Inmate participants will receive no compensation from W.A.G.S. 4 Kids.

Following the August 23rd launch, staff trainers will be onsite weekly starting August 30th, 2017. Each participating inmate has already undergone a multi-phase interview process and will have to work together and follow strict guidelines in order to retain program participation privileges. Like the organization’s other centers, the MANCI Program will be evaluated annually.

Details about Working Animals Giving Service for Kids and how to support fundraising efforts for the MANCI Program are available online at

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Sera Nelson
Phone: 216-586-5853 ext. 2

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