Inmates, dogs both getting a ‘New Leash on Life’

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) – Bandit the dog can sit, shake and roll over.

“He was out of control,” said Jim Tate, Humane Society of Clinton County executive director.

Tate has seen Bandit do a complete turnaround over the last five weeks. It’s all thanks to a joint program between the Humane Society and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office called a New Leash on Life.

For the last five weeks, five days a week, six inmates have teamed up with dogs from the shelter who need more training to make them more adoptable.

“All the dogs in the program except for one are pending adoption right now,” Tate said.

It is not only the dogs getting a new leash on life with the program. Its goal is to teach the inmates a lesson too.

“Accomplishment for one thing,” Clinton County Sheriff Jeff Ward said. “Some of our other goals are patience, patience in handling these dogs. They’re put into situations where they have to think.”

“It’s been really interesting to see the passion that they put into this, the patience they have with the animals, the way they care for them,” said Lora Ford, Clinton County records clerk.

Ford, who oversees the inmates during the training sessions, said programs like a New Leash on Life are popular in prisons, but not in jails.

“We’re really unique in that we’re a jail, and that presents a different challenge as far as space and time goes,” Ford said.

Although the dogs may be going home after the program, Ward said it helps, but it is not a quick fix for inmates.

“You’re not going to totally change someone overnight,” Ward said. “If we can have little wins here and there, and change in character, and getting the guys involved in positive situations that’s what we want to do,” Ward said.

The first round of training ends this Friday. Later this summer a new round will start with new dogs.

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