How Puppies Behind Bars is helping incarcerated individuals give back to society

Josh Einiger Image
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
This charity trains incarcerated individuals to raise service dogs
Josh Einiger has more on Puppies Behind Bars.

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police dogs and their human partners stood at the end zone of MetLife Stadium on Monday - recognized for their service.

Detective Theresa Mahon and Glory, along with two other K9 teams are part of the NYPD's Employee Assistance Unit.

Instead of sniffing out drugs or searching for criminals, their job is simple: make people happy.

In recent years, that job has been made all the more important after a series of police suicides in 2019.

"Just having the dog in the room, it raises all these good hormones in your body," says Detective Mahon. "You don't even have to touch them. As soon as you walk in, people say, 'Wow, you just made my day.'"

Monday night, they crossed the river to MetLife Stadium, along with dogs from other agencies - all of them provided by a charity called Puppies Behind Bars, dogs raised and trained in prison by incarcerated people.

This program finds people rehabilitating them, while training generations of service dogs.

"Watching these dogs, the effect they have on the students on campuses to the communities they're serving to the humans they're serving and then for a chance for these incarcerated individuals to give back to a society from which they took, and do something wonderful that keeps on giving," said Susan Lobel of Puppies Behind Bars.

In the past quarter century, Puppies Behind Bars has raised more than 3,000 dogs - as service animals for wounded vets, as explosive detection animals, and as therapy dogs.

ALSO READ | Dog leaves Newark animal shelter after two years, but still needs forever home

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