PBB Financials & Transparency

Statements & Reports

Puppies Behind Bars is funded entirely by private contributions. We depend on the generosity of our donors to continue our work.  We are 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.

If you have questions about our finances or about supporting our work, please call Eric Barsness, Executive Vice President, at 212.680.9562.

Puppies Behind Bars is a participating member of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #11902) and Animal Charities of America.

Our Four-Star Rating

We are proud to announce that Puppies Behind Bars has earned its fourteenth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that our organization adheres to good governance and other best practices and that we consistently execute our mission in a fiscally responsible way.

Fewer than 1% of the charities rated have received at least fourteen consecutive 4-star evaluations. Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator.

Click to view the announcement from Charity Navigator, and visit our profile.

Goals, Strategy, Assessing Results

Although specifics of PBB’s program have evolved over time, the organization has remained true to its core mission: training incarcerated individuals to raise exceptional working dogs. We currently train service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders, therapy dogs for police departments, and explosive-detection canines (EDCs) for law enforcement. To date, PBB has raised more than 2000 puppies.


Our goals are to train the best working dogs available, to keep the dogs happy and healthy, to train the incarcerated puppy raisers in our program to be skilled dog handlers, and to maintain a high “graduation” rate, with approximately 75% of our dogs going on to lead successful and productive working lives. (Dogs that do not graduate are released for adoption.)


We train excellent working dogs by offering rigorous instruction and guidance to the incarcerated individuals in our program. The dogs receive 24-hour-a-day attention from their puppy raisers, from the age of 8 weeks until they leave our program between the ages of 12 and 24 months. We constantly adapt our instruction and dog training methods based on our own experience, on input from other experts, and on feedback from the veterans, first responders, and law enforcement officers who are ultimately paired with our dogs. We achieve high graduation rates by carefully selecting dogs with ideal characteristics for a working life, and through the flexibility that training different types of working dogs lends our program. This allows us to switch a dog’s career path if its response to early training indicates that a change might lead to greater success. The dogs, in this sense, choose the career for which they are best suited.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Puppies Behind Bars does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, color, age, marital status, HIV/AIDS status, national or ethnic origin or disability in the recruitment and employment of staff, board members or volunteers, or in the administration of its policies and programs.

You can download our Non-Discrimination Policy statement here.


PBB’s staff includes seven full- and part-time instructors, who teach in six correctional facilities. Approximately 150 incarcerated individuals participate in our program as puppy raisers. Members of our instructional staff also conduct two “team training” sessions annually, during which veterans, first responders, and police officers are paired – and learn to work with –  their new service and therapy dogs. PBB’s finances are healthy, with a broad base of individual and foundation support allowing us to maintain our programs.

Measuring and Reporting Success

PBB measures success both quantitatively and qualitatively. The longevity of our program is an indication of its health, the large number of incarcerated individuals and correctional facilities participating, are clear factors in assessing our steady progress. We also find an indication of our program’s effectiveness in the many PBB puppy raisers who apprise us of their success finding jobs in dog training, grooming, and related fields after they are paroled.

Ongoing media coverage is a qualitative gauge of our achievements. From the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and The Oprah Winfrey Show, many news and media outlets have chronicled our work and what it means to the incarcerated individual, wounded veterans, and first responders who benefit from it. Finally, we hear frequently from our clients, volunteers, and incarcerated individuals about the impact our dogs have on their lives. PBB’s newsletters relay some of these successes with profiles of  veterans and first responders, news about our EDCs, and other updates about our work.

Click here to view PPB News and our newsletter archive.

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!