Inmates In Three States Train Dogs To Aid Disabled Veterans, Police


Inmates train dogs in Puppies Behind Bars, a program that prepares dogs to work as aides to disabled veterans or sniffing bombs for law enforcement agencies, says USA Today. Since it started in 1997, the program has placed 350 puppies into working service. It started out training dogs for the blind. Prisoners are great puppy raisers, says program founder Gloria Gilbert Stoga, because “they put their all into each and every dog.” Unlike professional trainers, she says, prisoners “have a real need and desire to prove they can do something right. [] Here is a chance for someone to say, ‘You succeeded.’ “

Of the 500 inmates at New York State’s Otisville prison, 19 are part of the puppy program, currently training 11 dogs. Each dog has a primary trainer; the other participants provide backup. The program, in six prisons in three states, relies on breeders to provide Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers because their size enables them to do things such as turning on lights, and their friendly dispositions help break the ice with strangers. The cost of raising, training and placing a dog is $26,000, funded by private donations and grants from non-profit organizations.

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