Nonprofit teams up with Roswell inmates for puppy rehabilitation program

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ROSWELL, N.M. – A group is helping some inmates and dogs in the Roswell Correctional Facility give both dogs and inmates a second chance.

“We send between seven and nine dogs every eight weeks. They have a trainer that works with the inmates, the inmates are pre-approved through the prison,” said Stephanie Campbell, director and founder of The Big Mutt Network.

Campbell says they partnered up with the Roswell Correctional Facility to create the Uncaged Paws prison program.

Inmates learn how to train dogs and how to prepare for life outside of prison. But it’s not just giving the inmates some hope, the dogs too get a second chance as they come off the euthanasia list from local shelters

“In fact, two of them were taken from the Roswell Animal Control on their final day, because they would have been euthanized, and we were able to with the help of the staff there. We were able to get them into our program,” said Rebecca Porte, an Uncaged Paws volunteer.

Porte says the goal was to save dogs from the high euthanization list but ended up giving inmates a second chance.

“All of the benefits that are garnered by the dog, we’ve discovered really benefit the inmates as well – gives them a sense of responsibility and just of self-confidence,” said Porte. 

“The inmates take this program really seriously, it gives them a sense of pride,” said Brittany Roembach, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Corrections Department. 

The inmates aren’t only training the dogs, they’re also learning life skills.

“I think it opens some, definitely some compassion, some responsibility for another living being. And you really have to watch your temper, you have to watch your behavior, because dogs feed off of that,” Porte said. 

Roembach says they hope to continue this program in the future.

“It’s a great program and anyone who has a dog knows the power of dogs, and that is certainly true for these inmates,” said Roembach.