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LOS ANGELES –Inmates at the Men’s Central Jail are participating in a unique program known as the “Custody Canine Program.”

Dogs are being housed with the inmates who learn to apply canine training and housebreaking skills to prepare them for adoption.

The county jail inmates volunteer for the specialized program, which is offered through the Education Based Incarceration Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

This program started in August 2012 as a partnership with Belmonte’s Dog Training and Equipment.

Inmates are given two hours of instruction per week by staff from Belmonte’s Dog Training, learning how to properly train and care for the dogs.

Two dogs are introduced and placed in an inmate dorm that houses 36 inmates.

The entire training process takes approximately 3-5 weeks for each pair of dogs.

Adding to the dogs’ comfort and safety, they spend part of their day outdoors on grass lawns adjacent to the jail and they have access to dog crates in their jail dorm.

Eight dogs have already been successfully trained and adopted by loving families.

The company’s founder, Rick Belmonte, rescues the dogs from several kennels and shelters throughout the Southland where they face being0 euthanized.

Belmonte assesses the dogs for their tolerance to being housed in the crowded jail environment and participating in the training program.

Each dog is also spayed or neutered, and microchipped.

The program is funded through the Inmate Welfare Fund, which in turn is funded through the proceeds from inmate vending and commissary.