Emilio Cogliani

A new program at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex is bringing juvenile inmates and shelter dogs together in a plan to teach the teens responsibility and ready the canines for adoption.

“This program teaches adolescents how to be responsible and nurturing, so they can be better members of their communities after they leave our custody,” NYC Department of Correction Commissioner Joe Ponte said in a press release earlier this month.

Nicknamed “Rikers Rovers,” the program allows a dog from the city shelter to live inside a housing area at the Robert N. Davoren Complex (RNDC) — a facility for juveniles who are awaiting trial — for nine weeks. There, the 16- and 17-year-olds are responsible for walking, feeding, socializing and training the dog. After that, the dog is ready to be adopted to a permanent home.

ace

Ace, a 1-year-old black lab mix and the second dog to participate…

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