Prisoners and Animals Working for Success – P.A.W.S.


Southern New Mexico P.A.W.S (Prisoners and Animals Working toward Success) provides education and life skills for both inmates and dogs, resulting in permanent, loving and caring homes for the dogs and teaching inmates to become productive citizens with patience, compassion and understanding of others.

P.A.W.S. is made possible through NMCD’s partnership with Action Programs for Animals (APA) a local non-profit rescue group.  APA will provide adoptable shelter dogs to the prison where they will live with inmates full-time.  Dogs will be trained by inmates in basic obedience and manners for a period of approximately 8 weeks.  Upon successful completion of training, dogs will be adopted to families by an application process

P.A.W.S. is funded strictly through donations from citizens and non-profit organizations throughout New Mexico.  
Prison dog programs are becoming more and more prevalent across the country.

This program is a true commitment to recidivism reduction by NMCD and will help our extremely high euthanasia rates in New Mexico.

Prisoners and Animals Working Toward Success team

How It Works

  • Adoptable dogs from the Animal Services Center of Mesilla Valley will be temperament tested by our volunteer dog trainer.
  • Dogs that are eligible will be transported to the prison facility and will be paired with inmates who will take responsibility for the dog’s training, care and grooming full-time for the extent of the animal’s stay. 
  • Dogs and inmates will attend supervised training sessions twice each week and will be required to work with their dogs independently every day. 
  • Inmates will be chosen based on their desire to participate, their crimes and disciplinary history. 
  • Inmates with sex offenses or animal abuse crimes will not be allowed to participate. 
  • Together inmates and dogs will learn behaviors and skills that will help each of them to lead productive lives outside the prison system.
  • Dogs will be taught basic obedience such as sit, stay and come. They will also learn how to live indoors and become potty trained. 
  • Many animals are surrendered each day due to behavior problems and training them correctly will certainly give the dog a better chance at a forever home.
  •  Inmates will learn patience, compassion and dog training skills.
  •  These skills will help the inmate relate to others and may afford them skills that will help them find employment when they are released back to our communities. 

How to Adopt a Dog

Contact Us

Michel Meunier – Executive Director

Nora Insurriaga – Manager

Applications must be filled out in person at our adoption center at:

Action Programs for Animals
537 N Solano
Las Cruces, NM 888001

Application to Adopt Dog

Download and email or fax the application

Happy Tails

Available Dogs

Check out these great photos of some of our dogs in their forever homes!

We love to hear updates from our former guests!

Please send your adoption photos and stories to


Coming soon!