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Prison program gives inmates, dogs "New Leash on Life"

READ MORE: Prison program gives inmates, dogs "New Leash on Life"
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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- You've heard of a new lease on life, but how about a "New Leash on Life?"

The Pender Correctional Institution celebrated three years of inmates training dogs to be partnered with families. But the nine-week experience impacts more than just the dogs whose lives are saved.

"You just open the crate, and there she is, wagging her tail and happy," Janet Smith said of the dog she adopted from the "New Leash on Life" program. "She'll jump up and give you morning kisses."

Smith was the first person to adopt a dog through the program. Three years and 16 graduating classes later, inmates at Pender Correctional Institution have trained dozens of shelter dogs adopted by loving families.

"They get a dog that's already a companion animal, so they stay in their homes," Barb Raab, president of Monty's Home, said. "People are just really thrilled with the dogs that come from here."

Raab teaches the inmates how to train the dogs. She says not only is it a win-win for the dogs and inmates, but also for taxpayers' wallets.

"It costs $100 to capture, house, and eventually euthanize an adoptable animal," Raab said. "The recidivism of the inmates, too. They don't come back to prison once they've been through one of these programs, and housing an inmate is like $40,000 to $45,000 a year."

Raab says the program has not only saved lives, it has changed lives.

"Helping them has helped me, and that's the greatest thing I can tell you," inmate David Shimp said. "And then knowing that it goes on. It's even paying it forward even more, because the families that adopt the dogs."

"She's my best friend," Smith said. "That's all I can say. She's my best friend."

So far the program has graduated 63 dogs, all of which have been adopted. A new class starts Monday.

The New Leash on Life program will expand to New Hanover Correctional Center in January.

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I have an idea

From the story: "It costs $100 to capture, house, and eventually euthanize an adoptable animal," Raab said. "The recidivism of the inmates, too. They don't come back to prison once they've been through one of these programs, and housing an inmate is like $40,000 to $45,000 a year."

Maybe we should model our prison system after the animal shelter system and euthanize some inmates. Look at the cost savings.

Shame on you...

Seriously what kind of human being are you to make such a statement? You most certainly can't believe in god as your statement tantamounts to a cardinal sin.

You obviously have never spent any time in either a prison or an animal shelter. I have. Go look me up "Claudia Mattheiss" and DCI or Hurricane Katrina. Sadly it is ignorant and clueless people like you whose careless statements color the world. You know ... you reap what you sow. Hope you are ready for harvest.

Claudia Mattheiss

God help us all and god help our justice system. Since when is reasonable doubt not good enough for the State of Georgia.
"I am Troy Davis"

Who Saids

Inmates do not come back after going through this program, who saids. There are all kinds of programs for them to go through and they still come back. What got them in prison is not addressed through training a mut. Drugs, unemployment, no work skills, no education, bad parenting. Address that.

who saids

The new leash on life program may not be the answer to everything but it is a start for some. I have personally witnessed the program where I work and I see the "win-win" situation for those it does benefit, both man and beast. Hey, if it helps one, that's one. Training "muts" may not address what got them in prison but the responisibilities associated with the program just might help them focus on something other than themselves. It's a great program. It isn't just one in which they play with the pooches. It involves work and discipline both for them and the dogs. Don't knock it until you have witnessed the good in it. It beats having them watch TV or play cards all day.