Prison Inmates Help Shelter Dogs Become More Adoptable

Photo Courtesy of Patrick Reddy for the Gannet Company


The idea behind a joint program at with the Kenton County Animal Shelter and The Kenton County Jail is connecting dogs that need a little extra help getting adopted like learning their manners or becoming socialized with local inmates in the Class D Community Service Program. Since the dog training program at the Kenton County Animal Shelter began in January, the inmates who are nonviolent offenders specifically chosen for the program have been learning the basics of dog training from local trainer Belinda Perry two days a week. The rest of the time they are at the shelter they work one on one with the dogs who need a helping hand to learn basic manners and socialization.

The inmates were already working at the shelter helping out with other tasks like feeding the dogs and cleaning kennels. The shelter decided to increase their responsibilities to help train dogs that were likely getting passed over for adoption because of their behavior or just plain lack of manners. They figured it would at least help socialize the dogs a bit more and get them out of their kennels for walks and time with people. The program has so far gone beyond expectation. The shelter hasn’t been keeping records on the exact number of dogs that the prisoners have worked with but each of the dogs that received a special helping hand and really worked with an inmate one on one have had a 100 percent success rate – every one of these dogs that have been adopted not a single one has been returned. The best part is that these are the dogs that would have been passed over for adoption over and over again.

The new program has also been a benefit to the inmates as well, according to the Kenton County Jail. They say the inmates feel that dog training is a tough job but a very rewarding one. Because of the rewards and sense of accomplishment the inmates feel when working with the animals as more then just kennel cleaners and maintenance staff they work hard and you can see they feel proud of what they are doing. They leave jail having accomplished something which is a big boost to them staying out of the system once their time is over.

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  1. What a great story! I bet both the dogs and the inmates benefit equally in this one. Rehabilitation is a GOOD THING.

  2. “Love is the beauty of the soul.” ~ Saint Augustine

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