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updated: 10/8/2012 4:11 PM

Possible Dwight prison closure puts dog program at risk

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Associated Press

DWIGHT, Ill. -- The organizers of a program that trains dogs to help those in need say the planned closure of a central Illinois prison may put their efforts in jeopardy.

ABC 7 in Chicago reported that prisoners at the Dwight Correctional Center train dogs for Luthern Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. The program started after a gunman killed five students at Northern Illinois University. The dogs are sent to disasters, like last year's Joplin, Mo., tornado.

Luthern Church Charities President Tim Hetzner says it would hurt the program if the prison closes. Program officials say they pay for all expenses and don't use any state money.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he wants to close major lockups at Dwight and Tamms and three halfway houses because of the budget crisis.

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