Prison pooches: Bland Co. inmates training service dogs - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Prison pooches: Bland Co. inmates training service dogs

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BLAND (WVVA) - Inmates at a local correctional facility are using their time behind bars to help make life better for citizens with physical disabilities.

The Prison Pups program at Bland Correctional Center allows inmates to train dogs to help the disabled.

The program started nine years ago and is a partnership with the correctional center and St. Francis of Assisi Service Dog program in Roanoke.

The dogs live in the cells with the inmates for several months while they undergo service training, before leaving to live with an owner in need of assistance.

Directors say the inmates make ideal trainers because of the large amount of time they are able to spend with their canine companions.

But the dogs aren't the only ones benefiting.

Convicted murderer David Galloway has trained nine dogs under the program and says the experience has helped him better himself.

"It's been my growth," Galloway said. "It's helped shape me into the new me."

NOTE: WVVA.com will post an extended 'Web-Extra' on the Prison Pup program shortly.

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