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Rehabilitation for rescue dogs and offenders at Acacia

Published: 22 Jun 2015

With rehabilitation as a mutual goal, Acacia Prison has embarked on a new partnership with the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Shenton Park.  Heidi, a brindle female mastiff and Hercules, a male tan mastiff, are the first foster dogs to arrive at the prison to be cared for and trained by offenders.

The dog foster program will benefit both offenders and the homeless pets, and will be added to Serco’s suite of offender rehabilitation and training programs inside the medium security Wooroloo facility.  Offenders benefit from new found responsibility and the unconditional love and affection of the dogs which helps in their pre-release rehabilitation pathway.  The dogs, often abandoned or abused, will benefit from receiving full time care to assist with their rehabilitation and behavioural training and make them more likely to be adopted into a permanent home.

Offenders involved in the program are carefully selected and will be educated in canine care and obedience training by a dog training specialist, as part of the joint program between the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Shenton Park and the Serco-run prison.  Two handlers will be assigned to each dog to maintain consistency and continuity of care with all training to be based on positive reinforcement.  

“The Dogs’ Refuge Home is excited with the opportunity this new partnership with Acacia provides in assisting to rehome our dogs. Being able to place our dogs in this type of foster care where they will receive around the clock care and attention as well as daily training is very beneficial,” said Dogs’ Refuge Home CEO Judy Flanagan.

The program will provide an important opportunity for offenders to give back to the community in a positive way.

“This is a real chance for offenders to take responsibility and care for pets who are in an unfortunate situation. Providing foster care of the dogs will assist offenders to change their offending behaviour, provide them with a something positive to focus on and help them realise that they can contribute to the community on release if they and adopt a law-abiding lifestyle. We are pleased to be able to assist Shenton Park in its efforts to re-socialise dogs in readiness for life with a new family,” said Acacia Prison Director Nick Cameron.

If you are interested in fostering or adopting a canine friend, visit

Acacia Prison, Western Australia

Acacia Prison is privately operated and managed by Serco Australia through a contract with the Western Australian Department of Corrective Services. The Department oversees the operations of Acacia through a variety of contract management mechanisms, including key performance indicators, on-site Monitoring Officers and regular audits and reviews. Contractual performance and compliance is actively assessed and an annual report is tabled in Parliament outlining the operations of Serco Australia and their level of contractual compliance.