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Ruff news: Dog handlers at Michigan prisons get pay cut

Prison bars
Posted at 4:57 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 16:57:59-05

MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan prisoners who are trusted to train dogs are getting a 42% pay cut to $1.54 per day after a mistake was discovered by the Corrections Department, a newspaper reported.

Prisoners already receive low wages for their work behind bars. They said a pay cut from $2.65 per day hurts, especially when the job requires certain skills.

Louise Reichert of Escanaba, a retired state worker, said her Pomeranian dog, Thor, has turned into a great pet after being trained by men at the Alger prison in the Upper Peninsula.

“He’s very good and well-behaved — a great cuddler,” Reichert told the Detroit Free Press.

The newspaper said a Corrections Department official made a mistake by approving the higher pay rate around 2011.

“The MDOC last fall created a uniform pay rate for all dog handlers to ensure fairness across the board,” spokesman Chris Gautz said.

Prisoners at Alger said they must have a good record and complete an eight-week training program to get a job with dogs. There are hazards: Dogs from the Delta County animal shelter in Escanaba sometimes will bite and misbehave until they’re successfully trained.