New program pairs prisoners with pooches - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New program pairs prisoners with pooches

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Inmates will be linked with dogs who have trouble finding forever homes. Inmates will be linked with dogs who have trouble finding forever homes.

A new program at the Madison County Jail may help out prisoners and local dogs that are in need of a home.

The goal of the new program, named Pets Healing Inmates' Lives, or P.H.I.L., is to link inmates with dogs who have trouble getting adopted.

Terrill Tasker, the jail's Program Specialist, said the inmates will work with the animals 24/7 and will learn dog grooming and will teach the dogs obedience.

She said the dogs will have obedience and crate training and will become housebroken. These valuable skills will make it easier to get the dogs a forever home.

The program is named after Prince Phillip, the jail's former comfort dog, who passed away in October.

The jail is working with the Huntsville Animal Control Center, who will provide the dogs for the inmates. Usually, the dogs that have problems getting adopted are euthanized after a certain period of time, but the hope is that this program will change that.

"They'll be housebroken; they'll be crate-trained," said Tasker.

Tasker said the program is a win-win, because the inmates involved are learning valuable skills such as social and vocational skills, along with dog training and grooming experience that could lead them to jobs after release.

"It is very important for the inmates to have that sense of hope and a sense of giving back to society," Tasker said.

Tasker says the program will probably only start out with a few dogs, but they hope it will ultimately grow to include many dogs. She believes it will give the inmates hope and a sense of giving back to the community. They will be helping the animals find a new home as well as learning skills they can use after they get out of prison.

It will mean more second chances and more lives saved.

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