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The original item was published from 2/26/2019 10:34:52 AM to 3/9/2019 12:00:09 AM.

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County News

Posted on: February 26, 2019

[ARCHIVED] RCACP Receives Petsmart Charities Grant for In Custody K-9 Training Program

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FEBRUARY 26, 2019— ROANOKE, VA – The Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection (RCACP) knows that pets have the remarkable ability to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood and bring us unconditional love. That’s why, with the help of a new $33,600 grant from PetSmart Charities, the organization is aiming to improve the quality of life for Roanoke Valley residents and homeless animals through an in-shelter inmate dog training program.

With this grant, RCACP will identify available dogs that need assistance with learning acceptable behavior skills and match them with an inmate trustee through the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office to learn those skills in the shelter environment. The inmates, with the help of trainers provided by Angels of Assisi, will work with the dogs four days a week at the shelter to learn new skills and master the skills they are acquiring. The hope is that dogs that have an opportunity to complete this training will master basic obedience skills, such as leash walking, sit, stay, etc. A live demonstration by the inmate trainers and the dogs will be available to the media only on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at the shelter at 1510 Baldwin Ave, NE.

“We are very excited to begin our new K-9 training program for both the dogs and the inmate trainers,” said Michael Warner, Interim Executive Director of RCACP. “The goal is to present an animal that will be an acceptable companion to the public with basic obedience already in place and to reduce adoption returns. In addition, the program is an opportunity for the trustees to learn new job skills and the soft skills that are needed to succeed after incarceration. By participating in this program, the trustees receive positive validation from the dogs and trainers and provide a lasting service to the community. In addition, adopters will be exposed to what a difference professional obedience training makes in a dog and we are happy to have the trainers at Angels of Assisi provide that service. This is a true win-win situation for all involved and we very thankful that PetSmart Charities supported our vision.”

“We know the transformative power of pets and are committed to supporting programs that bring people and pets together,” said Sima Thakkar, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “Thanks to our generous donors across the nation, we are thrilled to support RCACP and this unique initiative that promotes the human-animal bond.”
Last year alone, PetSmart Charities granted more than $1.8 million to support programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life for individuals through greater access to service animals and animal-assisted therapy programs.

Funding from PetSmart Charities supports best practices that enhance the human-animal bond and find forever homes and families for pets in need. For more information, visit

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission under key areas of support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $340 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 15 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit

Follow PetSmart Charities on Twitter: @PetSmartChariTs
Find PetSmart Charities on Facebook: See PetSmart Charities on YouTube:

Media Contact:
Michael J. Warner,
Interim Executive Director

PetSmart Charities
24-Hour Media Line: 623-587-2177

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