PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Five dogs that used to be housed in an animal shelter have new homes after going through weeks of training with some of the inmates at the Pender Correctional Institution. The Positive Partners Prison program has given over 150 dogs a new leash on life.
Complete with caps and gowns, a graduation ceremony was held for five dogs that were selected to take part in the statewide program designed to get some dogs out of animal shelters and adopted into homes.
The Leash on Life program was created through a partnership with Monty's Home Dog Rescue and the Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw. All of the dogs selected to enter the program are tested to make sure they are good candidates.
"We temperament our dogs, we want to make sure we have no dogs with aggression issues, we want dogs that are sociable, we want family companions, and we test them also for guarding issues, so they do not guard their food, and make they are good with other dogs and cats" said Barb Raab, spokesperson for Monty's Home.
Since the program started nearly eight years ago, over 150 animals have been saved and adopted into new homes.
Amy Dotson had already adopted a rescue dog from another agency, and now, Disco is part of her family.
"And yes, they have been very thorough in explaining what has been done with the dog over the eight weeks, where the dog came from and all of the work that the inmates have been doing with them, it has been really thorough and very informative, and I feel really good about it" said Dotson.
Inmates are carefully screened through an interview process and if selected, they will spend seven days a week, working with the animals and teaching them basic learning commands. It also gives them marketable job skills they can apply when they complete their time behind bars and re-enter community.
"In my opinion, this is the best program in the Department of Public Safety that has been created. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved, we are removing dogs out of shelters, the inmates are learning a new skill, the community is getting new pets and a family is getting a new pet for their forever home" said Lori Wishart, Assistant Superintendent of the Pender Correctional Institution.
Right now, the selection process for the next dogs to enter the program is underway. And in just ten weeks, they will be ready to go to a new home, giving them a second chance to be an active and loving part of a local family.
And the success of the program at the Pender Correctional Facility, with every dog that has been thru the program now adopted, has allowed it to be expanded into the New Hanover County Correctional Facility as well.