Graduation Day For Dogs At Craven Correctional's "New Leash On Life" program

It was a big day for a group of inmates at Craven Correctional as they graduated another class of dogs they train to be adopted by the community.

The "New Leash On Life" program is in its seventh year at Craven Correctional and has graduated a total of 200 shelter dogs trained by inmates.

Wednesday, four inmates showed staff and the new owners what they worked on with the dogs for the past six weeks.

During the six weeks of training the inmates focus the dogs on basic obedience, like sit and stay commands, as well as others.

The inmates get help from Top Dog Academy owner Russell Parker. Parker says, "It can really change a guy when you're out there with responsibility and being held accountable."

The program is a way to rehabilitate inmates and is designed to cut down on them returning once they've been released.

Gary Clayton is doing time for a murder conviction and has been a trainer for five-years. He says he loves working with the K-9's, but every now and then they will test your patience.
"They do everything they can to manipulate you from roll on their back, to lick your hand, to give you the saddest eyes in the world to get out of what they don't want to do."

Clayton also says, "We get to give back. I feel like were giving back."

Connie Stoermer is one of the new dog owners. She says, "They are doing it for other people and I think they understand that, the trainers we talked to is just so nice and really wished us the best with him."

As the grads walked out some new dogs walked in for training. Typically, there are four dogs in each six week class.

If your interested in adopting a dog from the correctional facility the cost is $135.00 for the adoption, which includes neutering, training and micro chip.