Saint Francis Service Dogs announced today that it has been re-accredited by Assistance Dogs International. A representative of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) conducted an on-site assessment of the organization during the last week of September, 2012. The designation means that Saint Francis meets or exceeds international standards for the raising, training and placement of service dogs, which assist people with disabilities.
“Accreditation is the ultimate validation of the quality of the work we do here in Roanoke,” said Saint Francis Service Dogs Executive Director Cabell Youell. “We have an outstanding staff and an extremely dedicated group of volunteers. Every one of them believes in the value of and importance of our mission,” she said.
ADI evaluated the safety and cleanliness of the Saint Francis Training facility located at 8232 Enon Drive in Roanoke, as well as the training regimen, treatment of the dogs, screening procedures for applicants and the process for matching and placing dogs with clients. The surveyor interviewed staff, clients, and applicants in addition to reviewing paperwork and files. She did personal inspections of the property and visited Bland Correctional Center, home of Saint Francis Prison Pup program. The accreditation certification lasts for a period of five years.
“Saint Francis is a shining example of how a service dog organization should operate,” said Chris Diefenthaler, ADI Assessor. “Not only does this organization meet the criteria, but in many cases they set the gold standard.”
Assistance Dogs International, Inc. is a coalition of not for profit organizations that train and place Assistance Dogs. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of Assistance Dogs as well as staff and volunteer education. Only a small percentage of Service Dog organizations worldwide are currently accredited.