TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Starting in January, dogs are expected to help rehabilitate criminals in Tippecanoe County.
PAWS, or Participants and Animals Working for Success, is a new partnership between Tippecanoe County Community Corrections and Lafayette's Almost Home Humane Society.
Being stuck in a kennel is no life for a dog.
"This is a great chance for them to get out, get exercise, bond with a person," said Stacy Rogers, Executive Director of Almost Home Humane Society.
Being locked inside Community Corrections isn't fun either.
Jason Huber, Executive Director of Tippecanoe County Community Corrections, said, "Just because they've made bad decisions in life, doesn't mean they're bad people."
That's why the PAWS program just makes sense. It's a chance for both animals and participants to get out and work toward success.
"We teach responsibility, the programs teach care, they teach giving back," said Huber.
"How to sit and stay and lay down and some of the things that a new owner is really going to value in their pet when they take it home," said Rogers.
Participants will be required to go through training and keep track of the dog's progress. When the partnership is over, they'll host an adoption event for the public.
"They'll get their report card you know, this is what the dog does really well, here are some things that you might want to continue to work on, this is what he loves to do," said Huber.
And if the situation allows, participants may even adopt the pet.
"And if that bond develops, then we've really accomplished what we've wanted to," said Huber.
If all goes well, the program could expand to other animals and more participants.
"We're just starting slow, I want to make sure we don't rush the process," said Huber.
"I would love to see cats get the chance to go out," said Rogers.
The program is not unheard of. Some prisons have done something similar.
"But as far as I know we're the first Community Corrections in Indiana to have this program," said Huber.
Community Corrections Executive Director Jason Huber says they're still deciding which participants will be a part of the PAWS program.
Training is expected to start in early January.