Published: Sep 17, 2010 6:23 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 17, 2010 3:23 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Grace is a two-year old mixed breed dog who was stabbed by her owner in May 2010. Following her recovery at Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS) she entered the Lee County Cell Dogs Program to receive obedience training by Lee County inmates. The program uses inmates incarcerated for non-violent crimes to train shelter dogs so they are more adoptable. In spite of her ordeal, LCDAS staff and trainers with the Cell Dogs Program describe Grace as a very affectionate, sociable dog who loves people.

Kristi Mershon saw the news coverage of the ordeal that nearly cost Grace her life and of her transfer to the Cell Dogs Program. She contacted Sgt. Dominic DeBatte who oversees the program about adopting her once Grace completed her training course.

On September 16th Mershon finalized her adoption at LCDAS. The once unwanted canine who escaped death will now have a life-long loving home with a new family. “We are thrilled to see her get the good home she deserves,” says Gloria Letendre, LCDAS Kennel Supervisor, “through the Cell Dog Program she received the training she missed by not having a caring owner to teach her basic skills.“

Grace’s former owner, Michael Bernhart Beckman was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty. He was subsequently arrested again for violating his probation. Beckman has a long history of arrests and violations in Lee County. LCDAS urges anyone who is aware of any type of animal cruelty or neglect to report it to their agency for investigation at (239) 533-7387 (LEE-PETS).

For more information about the Lee County Cell Dogs Program call (239) 477-1728. For information about pets for adoption visit Animal Services’ website at http://www.leelostpets.comor call (239) 533-7387 (LEE-PETS). Information about pets available for adoption updates hourly.