Wolf Dogs Fill the Guard Layoff Gap at Louisiana’s Angola Prison


Budget constraints have forced the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola to lay off guards and close guard towers. So the prison has used dog-wolf hybrids to patrol fences at night, says the Wall Street Journal. Nobody yet has tried to overpower or outrun them. Lou Cruz, 55, serving life for murder, said inmates are keenly aware of the four-legged security force prowling the perimeter. “You might run,” he said, “but they’re going to catch you.”

The wolf dogs, as they are called here, are the brainchild of Warden Burl Cain and his staff. They were brought in last year in response to a steady decline in the prison’s annual budget from $135 million five years ago to $115 million today. The prison has laid off 105 out of 1,200 officers, and 35 of the 42 guard towers now stand empty on the 18,000-acre prison grounds. The animals regularly guard at least three of the seven camps that make up the complex. Cain says the wolf dogs are a strong psychological deterrent. “The wolf ate Grandma,” he said. They also save money. The average correctional officer at Angola earns about $34,000 a year. The canine program, which includes about 80 dogs—the wolf hybrids along with other breeds for other tasks— costs about $60,000 annually for medical care, supplies, and food.

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