Service Dogs For Police and Fire Departments

For community outreach and departmental wellness

Puppies Behind Bars donates service dogs to police and fire departments for community outreach, crisis response and department enrichment. We have a maximum of fifteen dogs to place per year. Puppies Behind Bars pays for 100% of the cost of placement, including transportation and lodging for training. Post-placement, all costs associated with caring for the
dog will be the responsibility of the recipient or department.

To qualify for one of our dogs, you must:

  • Be able to provide a stable, safe environment for our dog, which includes love, daily exercise, medical care and food.
  • Be able to take the dog with you to work. At a minimum, agree the dog will not be left alone for any more than two hours a day.
  • Be willing to exercise the dog off-leash in an outside enclosed area or appropriate park for at least an hour every day, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Be willing to participate in a 14-day “team training” in Chappaqua, NY. About half of team training classes include working in prison with a small group of incarcerated individuals, carefully selected as “puppy-raisers” within a security-supervised classroom that is separate from the general population. “Puppy-raisers” will impart hands-on, professional knowledge to each recipient about his/her dog, and will provide detailed information regarding service dog handling and care. Incarcerated individuals who are participants in team training are carefully screened by the correctional facility staff and PBB instructors, are closely monitored and evaluated, and are permitted to participate in PBB’s program based on meeting our extremely high standards for their performance and commitment to the well-being of our dogs and those we serve.

Application Process

Please fill out the application below. We will notify you, via email, that we have received your application. PBB staff will conduct an initial review to determine your eligibility. After that, we will schedule two separate interviews with you, conducted by two different PBB instructors. These interviews will be both over the phone and over Zoom video conference. If you live close by, we may ask to conduct one of the interviews in-person.

If we decide to proceed with your application, we will send links for you to forward to two people who are willing to fill out personal character reference forms (electronically) for you.

We will also require a letter from the appropriate head of your department and/or municipality. This letter should explain:

  1. Why you have been selected by the department to be the dog caretaker and handler.
  2. Who will be financially responsible for the dog’s veterinary care, food, and supplies.
  3. How the dog will be transported during your shift. Will you be outfitted with a K-9 vehicle equipped with heat sensors and alarms?
  4. How the dog will be utilized within the department.

Within 2 to 4 weeks, we will contact your references and your department chief. A decision about your application should be made within six weeks of receipt of your application. If you are selected, you will invited to our next 14-day “team training.”

Identity check

Please enter your email and password to resume this form.

Make a Donation

Puppies Behind Bars is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, tax I.D. #13-3969389, and donations are tax-exempt to the extent allowed by law.

You may make a one-time donation in any amount you wish, or sign up for recurring gifts on a schedule that works for you.

For gifts in honor or in memory of someone:

If your donation is made in someone’s memory or honor, we will send a card to the designated recipient(s) acknowledging your generous donation on their behalf.

Please include the recipient’s mailing address on the online form. You can view an example of one of our cards here.

Prefer to donate a different way?

PBB offers many ways for you support our mission, including by phone and mail, and with memorial and matching gifts.

Click here to find one that works for you!