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'Home For Hounds' Benefits Shelter Dogs & Inmates

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The goal of a new pilot program in Dallas County is to make shelter dogs more adoptable and jail inmates more employable.

The program called "Home for Hounds" is starting off at the Dallas County Jail. Sheriff Lupe Valdez and her staff came up with the idea, and worked out the plan that has low-risk inmates training dogs in basic commands -- like sit, stay, walking on a leash, etc.

"The dogs will be in areas of the jail with outdoor access," explained Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia. "The program will rotate every five weeks, with one dog assigned to two inmates."

The City of Grand Prairie and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are providing the dogs, and will bring them to and from the jail. The SPCA has also donated dog beds and toys. The hope is that Home for Hounds will reduce the number of dogs that have to be euthanized in Dallas County every year.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone," Garcia said. "The inmates can get out of jail with some basic skills on how to give commands to dogs. That could help them gain employment later. And it gives the dogs a chance to learn and become more adoptable."

The Home for Hounds program will cost about $74,000 for the first year, with the money coming out of a fund used for inmate programs.

The program is scheduled to begin in October.

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