Nov 10, 2014 5:01 PM

Cheshire County Jail inmates pair up with NH shelter dogs

KEENE - Inmates and shelter dogs are matched up in a new program at the Cheshire County Correctional facility.

Lindsay Hamrick, the New Hampshire State Director for the Humane Society of the United States explains, "The concept is that dogs from the Monadnock Humane Society or For the Love of Dog Rottweiler and Pit Bull Rescue come to the grounds of the jail and the men or the women teach them obedience skills. So I lead an obedience class and they learn basic skills."

Hamrick says this benefits the dogs by teaching them how to sit, stay and walk nice on a leash, which hopefully will help get them adopted when they return to the shelter.

Hamrick reached out to Sgt. Greg Koziara at the jail earlier this year. He says he is always looking for new and innovative ways to incentivize the inmates, and it's working.

"We've noticed that the punitive problems that we have been having in that block have really cut down," Koziara says.

Cameron Chung, incarcerated on a parole violation, says it's a great program. He is scheduled to be released at the end of the month and says he plans on getting a dog, since he had to give his dog up when he went to jail.

"It's definitely changed my perception about recommitting crimes and being incarcerated," Chung says. "It's nice to come out here and be in the fresh air."

Hamrick says other jails in New Hampshire have reached out to her wanting to know more about the program.


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