Izzy, Karma and Kahlua are off to prison. But they should be rehabilitated and released in just eight weeks.
These three handpicked canines from the Humane Society of Union County will participate in the New Leash on Life program with Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton, a medium security prison. Union's humane society was contacted by Brown Creek in August to exclusively provide homeless dogs for the program.
On Oct. 3, humane society volunteers handed over the dogs, their crates, collars, six-foot leashes, vet records and 40-pound bags of dog food.
“Izzy, Karma and Kahlua were getting to know their inmate handlers as we left,” volunteer Cindy Poppino said. “Three previous graduates (from the Anson County Humane Society) were much larger dogs, so the inmates were having fun holding the newcomers in their arms.”
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Kahlua is a 1-year-old terrier/ wired-haired pointer mix. Karma is a 1-year-old terrier mix. Izzy is a 5-month-old rat terrier/Jack Russell mix. All weigh less than 25 pounds.
At Brown Creek Correctional, there's a waiting list of prisoners interested in mentoring the dogs. A select few with exemplary records were introduced to the dogs this past weekend. Three will be assigned the dogs.
The inmates will spend eight weeks house training the animals, teaching basic commands and tricks and socializing them. The program is similar to ones in other states, some of which have been featured on national television.
The program provides rehabilitation for prisoners as well. It gives inmates a skill for their return to the work force and a sense of purpose. Some of the men, who haven't seen a dog in a decade or more, have written poems about the animals.
Many dogs in the custody of the Humane Society of Union County are surrendered because of behavior problems. The hope is that this program will teach obedience and make the dogs highly adoptable.
Want to adopt?
Humane Society of Union County is accepting applications now for these three beauties. People can adopt now, witness graduation day on Dec. 5 at Brown Creek and immediately take them home. It's crucial to get the dogs adopted quickly, since the state may stop funding if the program is not a success. Visit www.hs-uc.com today for applications and information. Click on adoption at the top.