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Inmates train dogs for a new "leash" on life

By Jonathan Weant
Published On: Nov 06 2013 05:40:06 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 06 2013 05:49:04 PM CST

It's a story about second chances, not just for the dogs, both also for the inmates.

BAYBORO, PAMLICO COUNTY -

It's a story about second chances, not just for the dogs, both also for the inmates

 Michael McGaha is an inmate at the Pamlico Correctional Facility.

He, along with five other inmates with not much else in common, came together to give back to the community by helping to train six dogs.

It's all part of a program called a New Leash on life.

A program that allows state prisons to partner with local animal shelters, like Pamlico Animal Welfare Society to train dogs in preparation for adoption.

 “The inmates get a chance to learn about themselves as they're training other dogs. We've had several come up and say I haven't touched a dog in 20 years and it brings them back to being a human again” said Sandra Trest, Program Coordinator.

 Inmate trainers spend eight to twelve weeks with their dogs, teaching them basic obedience and socialization skills like sit, shake, and roll over through positive reinforcement.

Each dog is taught to walk on and off the leash and to respond to basic commands.

On Wednesday a set of six dogs graduated with honors and were able to be adopted.

Now that these six well trained dogs have graduated and found a home, the process starts all over again, this time with new born puppies.