LMAS helps save lives through Paws Behind Bars Program

March 21, 2016

Paws Behind Bars is a unique dog training program within the walls of Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in KY! It started about seven years ago, when the state government in Frankfort, KY, decided to help start such programs in prisons around the state. Many prisons cannot afford to start such a program. Usually it requires the prison to give up a bed because the inmate and dog are housed together during the training period.

Luther Luckett Correctional Complex started such a program in 2009 with 12 inmates living and working together in one dorm. “The dogs have a remarkable effect on the inmates,” said Lisanne Mikan, director of Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue who administers the selection and adoption portions of program. “You can walk into a noisy prison with a dog and it suddenly becomes very quiet. You see a side to the men many don’t get to see. They are filled with tenderness and compassion.”

The inmate must pass performance reviews with their dogs and maintain good behavior to remain in the program.  It is an intensive experience for both animal and inmate. Inmates receive training in a well-rounded program which typically can last four to six weeks. Once the training is complete, the dogs are placed with adoptive families, some of whom have adopted the dogs well before their training is complete. Mikan, with the help of trainer David Benson, is also working to expand the training program to include the training of service dogs such as those that work with veterans with PTSD or autistic children.

Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue gets dogs for the program from the Oldham County Animal Shelter and also routinely pulls from other shelters such as Louisville Metro Animal Services.

Dogs are evaluated as individuals prior to entering the program. Typically, the dog is not judged within the first 48 hours at the shelter. This gives the dog time to relax and decompress. If after several days the dog continuously displays good behavior, Mikan’s group pulls the dog and places them in the Paws Behind Bars Program. “We take any age or breed.” Mikan said.. “It is really about which dog will benefit the most from one on one interaction and obedience.”

Paws Behind Bars trained, and Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue adopted, approximately 100 dogs in 2015 (8 from LMAS were in the program.)


For more information on the Dogs Behind Bars Program, visit http://www.adoptmebluegrasspetrescue.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/Paws-Behind-Bars-Luther-Luckett-Correctional-Co...


For more information on pets available for adoption through Louisville Metro Animal Services visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/animal-services.