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First Class Graduates from New Leash on Life USA
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First Class Graduates from New Leash on Life USA

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Article about the New Leash on Life Program USA. The Pennsylvania Prison Society is one of the organizations partnering with the New Leash on Life staff to help save shelter dogs and teach prisoners …

Article about the New Leash on Life Program USA. The Pennsylvania Prison Society is one of the organizations partnering with the New Leash on Life staff to help save shelter dogs and teach prisoners skills they can use when they are released from prison.

Published in: Lifestyle
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  • 1. First Class Graduates from New Leash on Life USABy Mindy BogueNew Leash on Life USA graduated the first class of its pilot program onOctober 24. Four at-risk shelter dogs were saved, and six inmates learnedhow to train and care for dogs while gaining other essential job skills. Afterthe eleven-week session, four of the six inmates paroled were still workingwith animals: three interning at animal shelters and the fourth receivingfurther instruction from a dog trainer.The goal is to save shelter dogs by teaching participants to train the them,enhancing the dogs’ adoptability. They live with their inmate trainers, whohave sessions with professional dog trainers, animal behaviorists, andveterinary technicians. The Philadelphia Prison System selects the prisonerswho participate; those selected cannot have a record of animal, sex, or childabuse.New Leash on Life USA has partnered with The Pennsylvania Prison Societyand JEVS Human Services to provide job readiness and life skills training forthe participants. The prisoners attend workshops that address the challengesconfronting many former offenders — frustration, lack of self-confidence, andthe attraction of old ways of surviving.New Leash on Life USA founder and director, Marian Marchese, says, “[Theprisoners] got internships because people from shelters were impressed byhow good they were with the dogs after just eleven weeks.” She also praisesPrison Commissioner Louis Giorla and Warden Karen Bryan, who wereinstrumental in starting this program in the Philadelphia Prison System onState Road.There were many big-name speakers at the graduation —such as formerGovernor Ed Rendell — but the dogs were hit of the ceremony. All six inmategraduates received early parole, and all four dogs were adopted into lovinghomes; both inmates and dogs get another chance for survival andacceptance.

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