Cherry Hill, NJ (Feb 21, 2011) – Greyhound Friends of New Jersey (GFNJ), the state’s oldest greyhound rescue organization, is being honored by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) and is being inducted into their Animal Hall of Fame. The induction ceremonies and luncheon will be held at the Hamilton Park Conference Center in Florham Park on March 6, 2011.
GFNJ is being honored for their innovative Prison Foster Program, which provides rehabilitative benefits for incarcerated young men as well as needed socialization and obedience training for rescued greyhounds. Established in 2002 and based at the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility in Annandale, NJ, it is the only program of its kind in New Jersey for men. The program matches 11 greyhounds that have finished their racing careers with 22 incarcerated young men between the ages of 18 and 26. Under supervision, the young inmates act as fosters to the dogs for a period of six to eight weeks.
“This year’s winners exemplify the uniqueness of the human-animal bond. They truly are real examples of what people can do for animals and what animals can do for people,” explained Dr. Peter Falk, Chair of the Animal Hall of Fame Committee.
Dr. Wendy E. Ross DVM, DACVS, owner of Crown Veterinary Specialists in Lebanon, NJ, who nominated GFNJ’s program for the Hall of Fame said, “The GFNJ Prison Program seems like a perfect symbiotic relationship. It helps to socialize and rehabilitate the dogs while offering similar benefits for the inmates. Having pets does a lot for us so it is nice that this allows the inmates to have a pet while incarcerated.”
Linda Lyman, Greyhound Friends of New Jersey president said, “We are very proud of this program; we’ve had 340 graduates since it started. Not only does it help greyhounds make a smooth transition to life off the track, but it gives the men who have earned the opportunity to be responsible for another living thing, sometimes for the first time in their lives. At GFNJ, we are proud that we turn no greyhound away including those with legs broken in their last race. After Dr. Ross performs all necessary orthopedic surgery, most of the greyhounds go to our prison program where they receive special care from the inmates.”
Other winners are Samson, the “Kissing Pony;” Kanga, a six year-old Chihuahua; Tilly, a four year-old English Bulldog; the cats of Tabby’s Place, and a Cat Sanctuary in Ringoes.
The Animal Hall of Fame was established by New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association to publicly celebrate the human-animal bond. More than 80 organizations and animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and birds, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Visit the Animal Hall of Fame page at www.njvma.org for more details including video footage of past award winners.