A canine rescue organization and Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) this week announced the launch of a program pairing adoptable dogs with inmates at the maximum security prison in Lancaster, who will provide six to eight weeks of training to prepare the animals for new homes.
“There are several successful prison dog training programs throughout the country,” said Alex Tonner, the founder of Paws for Life K9 Rescue. “What makes the partnership with L.A. Animal Services unique is that we are selecting great dogs who may have previously been overlooked to attend the training. Community members can adopt one of these preselected dogs knowing that after the training, they will be bringing home a fully trained friend intotheir home.”
Dogs chosen for the “Shelter Paws for Life” program will come with an offer to the adopter to receive free training after adoption, according to Tonner.
The program was launched July 5 at LAAS’ highest intake location, the Chesterfield Square Animal Services Center at 1850 W. 60th St. in South Los Angeles, and is being expanded to all six LAAS centers. The goal is to train 250 dogs annually at the Lancaster prison.
“We are so excited to launch this program with Paws for Life,” said MeLissa Webber, assistant general manager of LAAS. “It’s really a community project that benefits both the dogs and the incarcerated men who are continuing on their journey of rehabilitation.”
Paws For Life K9 Rescue pulls its dogs from local shelters, often choosing animals in need of socialization and training. They are then placed with incarcerated trainers throughout California state prisons because they can dedicate all of their time to the task of rehabilitating the animals, according to the organization. Some of the dogs are trained to become service animals for military veterans with PTSD.