Prison inmates raising puppies to become service dogs


(WTNH) — Behind the walls at the Enfield Correctional Institution there’s not only inmates, but puppies. They are brought into the cells and live with inmate handlers to be trained as service dogs for veterans.

Commissioner Scott Semple of the Department of Correction says it has been a win-win for veterans and inmates alike.

“It’s fantastic! It has had a positive impact on the overall environment of the population and it gives them something to strive for,” said Semple.

The puppies are trained for about a year behind bars, but are trained by families on the weekend. The dogs help disabled veterans around the home and can retrieve things from the refrigerator and turn on and off lights. Right now, veterans have a 2-year wait for a service dog, but the inmates are able to cut that time in half with the work they do behind bars.

Former heavyweight champion boxer Leon Spinks and his wife Brenda received their service dog from Enfield.

“We have a special device that he can talk on. So we give the command to talk to hold and to give so he can open the door is Leon goes through or if we have a lot to carry. He’s good company, too. Not only does he help you, but as a friend. He’s definitely good company, he is a lifesaver. What can I say he’s my life and I am his,” said Spinks.

Vet dogs has about 84 puppies across the country and facilities like this.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Fire crews battle 2-alarm blaze on Wethersfield Ave. in Hartford

News /

CT towns mask mandate

News /

First-ever statewide gun buyback event sees successful outcome

News /

CLEARED: Tractor-trailer fire caused I-84 E shut down in Hartford

News /

Shooting suspect in custody after brief standoff in East Hartford

News /

Some residents excited, others voice displeasure over President Joe Biden’s visit to CT

News /
More Hartford

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss