Death Row Dogs

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

"I have two counts of first degree armed robbery."

"I got a manslaughter charge and a robbery charge. Right now, I've been her for 16 years."

Inmates end up in the Green River Correctional Complex for a variety of reason. But these inmates are getting a chance to make a difference for some dogs on Death Row at the Muhlenberg County Humane Society. The program is called Death Row Dogs.

Kim Pennington is the Director of the Humane Society. She says, "They'd be put to sleep. So this is a really neat program. It's a second chance for them."

Pennington picks dogs that people are not looking to adopt and they are brought to the prison. From there inmates take over.

Keith Smock is an inmate trainer in the program. She says, "When she first came in she was kind of timid around people. But she's learned how to sit, lay down, rollover, dance, she stays, she comes when I call her.

The inmate trainers form a special bond with the dogs.

Inmate trainer, Gary Roark says, "I think for a lot of us it's the first time in our lives we've ever actually experienced love."

At the end of the eight-week training the dogs know all kinds of tricks.

"Sadie sit, good girl!"

And they are adopted. Molly is a full-blooded German Shepard and she has been adopted by Kentucky Lt. Governor, Steve Pence. Georgia is a full-blooded Bloodhound and she is going to New York City to be a search and rescue dog. But each inmate trainer who finishes the program knows their time with the dogs, they have grown to love, has to come to an end.

Inmate trainer, John Orthober says, "I'm getting ready to lose a best friend today. I never thought about that either. Junior's back there. The little Snauzer that likes to dance. I never thought I'd get attached to a dog, but I can honestly say right now I'm attached."

In a few weeks it will start all over again and these inmates will give man's best friend another chance at life.

The Muhlenberg County Humane Society is receiving such a positive response to it's Death Row Dogs program that now they are going to surrounding counties' humane societies to try to save some of the dogs on Death Row there.


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