Puppies Up for Parole saves at-risk dogs in Nevada

Photo By Kat Kerlin

Puppies Up for Parole has been training prisoners to save at-risk dogs in Nevada since 2002. There are currently eight dogs with eight trainers (and occasional dog-sitters) at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City and another four dogs at Silver Springs Conservation Camp, the women’s facility.

The Nevada State Prison reports that about 200 dogs have been adopted, with few returns. The dogs come from the Nevada Humane Society, which screens out aggressive animals and also pays for the vaccinations, sterilizations, food, equipment and training of PUPs dogs.

The animals are trained by inmates, who’ve all been interviewed, have high school diplomas and have not had disciplinary problems. They are “medium custody level” inmates. (The four levels of custody are low, minimum, medium and maximum.) Though some who’ve committed murder are allowed to be dog handlers, no inmates with histories, of domestic, sexual or child abuse are allowed to participate.

Prison officials say it’s a source of pride and status for prisoners to become dog handlers and that, aside from one man who paroled, there’s been no turnover in dog handlers in two years.

Adoption fees are $85. For more information, contact the Nevada Humane Society at 856-2000, or visit