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Paws and Stripes College Debuts to Benefit Community

December 14, 2015 - Eastern Florida State College is partnering with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to train rescued dogs to help people with special needs in the community.

The program is called the "Paws and Stripes College" in Cocoa where the dogs involved will be trained in a range of important areas.

The animals will leave the program as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) dogs, therapy dogs, child victim advocate dogs, dogs to assist in computer crimes and crimes against children investigations, and dogs that can detect epileptic seizures in children.

The program is the next step in the Sheriff Office’s Paws & Stripes Program that began in 2008 and pairs carefully selected Brevard County Jail inmates with shelter dogs that struggle to find homes.

Paws and Striped ribbon cuttingTo date, over 300 dogs have been saved through the effort.

Eastern Florida’s Veterinary Technology Program will play a central role in the new program with students providing basic medical care to the dogs.

“This partnership will help people in our community in important ways and help our students get the hands-on training and real world experience they need to prepare for their careers,” said college President Dr. Jim Richey.

“It’s also another example of the college working closely with the Sheriff’s Office, which has long been a strong supporter of our Public Safety Institute where we train the next-generation of law enforcement and corrections officers.”

Said Sheriff Wayne Ivey: “This program is a win-win-win initiative that frees up kennel space in the local Public and Private Animal Care Centers, provides dogs a forever home, provides an incredible resource to those in need, helps increase our Live Release Rate,” he said.

“It also provides college students a strong practical application for their area of study, and teaches inmates a job skill that can be utilized to decrease the recidivism rate of incarceration.”

During a recent ribbon cutting, Richey joined Ivey along with others that included Bob Socks from the Titusville Chamber of Commerce, Teresa Clifton, of the Central Brevard Humane Society, Patrick Fox, from the SPCA, and Katherine Johnson of the Friends For Animals Sanctuary.