Puppies Behind Bars

Photos by Peggy Vance

Photo by: Peggy Vance

Charles Lafitte Foundation (CLF) is always looking for new programs with unique and meaningful causes to support, and since 2005, they have found that in the Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) program.

After the unfortunate events of 9/11 the need for law enforcement K9s has skyrocketed. Puppies Behind Bars saw the attack on their city as an opportunity to expand their ability to help. The NYPD along with other law enforcement agencies have continuously worked with PBB to train explosive and drug detecting dogs who will work side by side with officers in efforts to make their cities safer places for everyone.

PBB Is a training program based out of New York in which prison inmates are taught how to raise explosive-detective-canine (EDC) and service dogs for law enforcement and wounded war veterans. Puppy raisers are carefully screened prior to being given a puppy to insure the puppy’s safety. PBB screened prison inmates care for their puppies from the time they are 8 weeks old to approximately 2 years when they complete training and graduation. The inmates are responsible for not only their training but also their daily care. During this time, the puppies live in the cell with their raisers, and are given anything they may need during their time in the prison. The program currently has 72 dogs in training and over 600 graduates.

One of the service dog graduates new owners contacted PBB to thank them for her new companion. After three tours to iraq she suffered from severe PTSD and was struggling with day to day activities on her own. She writes,“I don’t expect Jasmine to be a miracle worker, but I’d like to tell you a little bit about the past few weeks. I’ve been eating at restaurants, explaining Jasmine’s role in my life to complete strangers, making friends & even shopping a little. I saw my first movie in 2 years together, went into a grocery store alone (for about 5 seconds, but you have to start somewhere, right?), picked out Jasmine’s first toy, & rode a bus. What means the most to me, though, is that I’ve slept soundly for the last 3 days without medicine or nightmares! We still have a long way to go, but I have faith in us as a team. Together we’ll head back to school (to become a veterinarian), go on dates (not with each other, lol), and spend many more seconds in the grocery stores.”

The law enforcement and service dog agencies that use Puppies Behind Bars are not the only ones that benefit from the program. Prison inmates make excellent puppy raisers because of the unlimited time they are able to dedicate to their dogs. Through this program the inmates are taught responsibility, patience, and how to not only give, but also receive unconditional love; which all play a huge role in the prison rehabilitation process.

“We are thrilled to continue funding Puppies Behind Bars in their efforts to support the compassion a puppy can bring to the lives of others,” said Kyra Citron, Director of CLF Kid’s Corner. The Charles Lafitte foundation (CLF) is honored to be of continued support to the Puppies Behind Bars program with a grand total of $45K in grant money awarded since 2005. The grants that CLF awards to PBB allows us the opportunity to sponsor another puppy this year that we will be naming Rosie.