‘Paws and Prisoners’ pairs inmates with K9’s in need of training

Local News

STEWART COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Halo and his kennel mate Sonny are getting a second chance.

Having spent much of their days at the local Humane Society in Stewart County, a trip to the county jail could mean a trip to their forever homes.

First, though, the dogs must undergo training, courtesy of inmates and Sheriff Frankie Gray.

“Halo had a rough time jumping on people, so I’m trying to get him not to do that so much,” explained inmate Nicole Wooden, during training on Thursday.

Halo and Sonny are the first K9’s in the newly formed ‘Paws and Prisoners’ program.

“[The dogs] cannot be adopted out for some behavioral issues, maybe some dietary problems,” explained Gray. “Due to abuse or neglect and the inmates work with these animals twice a day, until they get them ready to be adopted back out.”

Stewart County lacks a county animal shelter.

But the sheriff’s kennel out behind the jail was entirely donated, concrete, cages and all.

Gray hopes to help alleviate the dog control issues, preparing dogs for adoption two at a time.

He also hopes the program will prepare inmates for life outside jail walls.

“Hopefully it helps them build skills for when they get out,” Gray said. “Maybe could find a job, and it builds them credit time, helps actually get out a little bit quicker.”

“Very thankful for Sheriff Gray and what he’s doing for us,” said Nicole. “It really helps us to get out of the pod and work with the animals.”

While these two K9s still need a little work, their days behind bars in Stewart County are numbered and soon two more will stop by on their journey home.

Sheriff Gray hopes this program, will shine a light on the need for more animal control in the county.

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