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.