Reporter/photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
NEW CANAAN — Justice is a 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever and, unlike most dogs, he’s spent some time in prison. He and his handler, Nora Moran, were guests at L’Armoire on Sept. 30, where a fundraiser to support the organization Puppies Behind Bars was held on Sept. 29. Puppies Behind Bars is a New York nonprofit that pairs dogs with prisoners in five correctional facilities in New York and New Jersey. The prisoners then learn how to train the pups to become service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. Though Justice did not complete the program, there are 68 dogs involved with organizations such as the Transportation Security Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and New York’s bomb squad. Proceeds from clothing bought going to the organization. Food was provided by Baldanza Organic Cafe and wine was supplied by New Canaan Wine Merchants. “It’s a huge expense to purchase and bring a dog through the program. We put about $40,000 into each dog between medical care, food and training,” said Moran, who started with Puppies Behind Bars as an inmate puppy raiser in 2000 and is now the director of Dog Tags, the branch of the organization that provides service dogs to wounded vets.
The event raised $9,000 for Puppies Behind Bars, well over the $6,000 goal required to sponsor a puppy.