County jail inmates volunteer for the program, which is offered through the Education Based Incarceration Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The program is funded through the Inmate Welfare Fund, which is itself funded by inmate vending and commissary, KTLA reports.
Since August 2012, inmates have been given instruction two hours per week by staff from program partner Belmonte’s Dog Training and Equipment.
The company’s founder, Rick Belmonte, rescues the dogs from shelters where they face euthanization. Belmonte assesses the dogs to find matches for the training program and crowded prison environment, and then the custody canines are spayed, neutered and microchipped.
Two dogs are placed in an inmate dorm that houses 36 inmates. The dogs spend part of their day outdoors on grass lawns next to the jail and they have dog crates in their jail dorm. Training takes 3-5 weeks for each pair of dogs, and so far eight dogs have been successfully trained and adopted out to families.