About the Program
A new pilot program in Dallas County aims 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 Animal Services provided the canine friends and will bring them to and from the jail. 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 dogs featured on the website are being trained for 5 weeks at the Dallas County Jail by the inmates under the direction of a professional dog trainer. It is the hopes that the inmates may find gainful employment in an animal services related field when released from prison. Through programs like Home for Hounds, the Dallas County Jail is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.
Prairie Paws Adoption Center expects that the dogs placed into this program can and will benefit from socialization, companionship, and lots of one-on-one training. It also allows the assigned offender caretakers to learn the same skills while being responsible for the overall success of the dog.