Six men sitting in a row with three dogs in front of them.

Pamlico Correctional Institution Celebrates 45th Graduation Class of New Leash on Life Program

On Friday, September 23, 2022, Pamlico Correctional Institution held its 45th graduation for the New Leash on Life Program. The program had been temporarily suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In June 2012, the New Leash on Life Program began at Pamlico CI through a partnership with the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Austin Veterinary Outreach and Rescue (AVOR) of North Carolina. 

Historically, the program trains six dogs per cycle. To reestablish the program at the facility, members of class 45 trained and graduated three dogs. Maverick, Salty and Toast were all adopted at the conclusion of their training. The trainer teams consisted of three master trainers and three assistant trainers. A presentation was conducted to demonstrate various skills learned throughout the eight-week training cycle.

The New Leash on Life program is both a work and community service program that provides an opportunity for prison facilities to partner with local government and non-profit agencies to give offenders an opportunity to perform community service work while incarcerated. Partnering with local animal shelters and local animal rescue agencies, the New Leash on Life program helps reduce the homeless pet population and promotes adoption of stray and surrendered animals. Offenders spend eight to ten weeks teaching dogs basic obedience, house training, as well as socialization skills, which make them better candidates for pet adoption. Dogs trained in the program have extremely high adoption rates and the offender trainers learn marketable skills they can use to find employment after release.

There are 12 prison facilities that currently participate in the New Leash on Life program. 

The New Leash on Life Program at Pamlico CI has saved and fostered adoption for 267 dogs since the program began. Pamlico CI will be celebrating their tenth anniversary during the 46th New Leash on Life Graduation event, which is scheduled to take place in November of 2022.       

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