Dane County inmates get new leash on life by training dogs

Dane County inmates get new leash on life by training dogs

For many inmates at the Dane County jail, time away from home means time away from beloved pets as well. 

Through a program at the William Ferris Work Release Center, however, some inmates are getting a second chance at companionship with man’s best friend.

The program, “A New Leash on Life,” allows minimum-security prisoners to train dogs from the Rock County Humane Society in order to socialize them, ultimately saving the dogs from euthanasia. 

“A lot of us have dogs on the outside, so we’ve got our family taking care of them,” Shane Guist, an inmate at the Ferris Center, said. “(Having a dog) kind of makes me feel like I’m still out there. I’ve had dogs my whole life, so being locked up away from one is really hard.”

Guist said it’s the chance to get outside and contribute to his community that drew him to the program in the first place. 

“I’ve trained and raised dogs my whole life so I figured this was the right place for me,” Guist said. “Giving back to the community versus taking from it is a really big thing for me right now.”

The program has been around for a year, with eight dogs adopted as a result. Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said the program has been a huge success that will continue to expand. 

“The reactions have been very positive,” Mahoney said. “The program offers individuals the opportunity to give back to their community while serving time.”

There are a few dogs in the program that are still available for adoption. For more information contact the Rock County Humane Society or visit petsgohome.org.