Los Angeles Expanding Plan to Have Inmates Help Save Strays - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Los Angeles Expanding Plan to Have Inmates Help Save Strays

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LOS ANGELES (ABC) - As part of a new program in Los Angeles, dogs that are not adopted and would otherwise be euthanized are finding a home and a role in society.

Some pups in Los Angeles are learning their new tricks in a setting that some folks might find unusual -- inside the Los Angeles County Jail.

Dogs once destined for death row are getting a second chance at life thanks to some unlikely companions.

"I think it's a good thing for these guys, and for us," inmate Caesar Cunanan said.

Cunanan is one of 36 inmates responsible for taking care of two dogs every five weeks. Those dogs were only days away from being euthanized.

The inmates live with the canines 24-7, bathing, feeding and training them so they can find a new home.

"I've almost died on the street too," Cunanan said. "I've been shot. You know, just to give this guy another chance, because I'm thankful for me having another chance at living too."

Each dog that the inmates train is rescued from a shelter, even puppies, and every one is adopted.

"They're adopted before they're done with this program," said Rick Belmonte of Belmonte's Dog Training & Equipment.

Belmonte, a dog behaviorist, helps the inmates train the dogs to sit, stay, heel and much more. He believes the bond will help the inmates integrate back into society without re-offending.

"They're feeling a sense of empowerment," Belmonte said. "I think that confidence will help them get a job interview."

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is now expanding the program.

"The inmates are much more calm and relaxed," said Sgt. Raymond Harley of the Sheriff's Department.

With one more year to serve on a drug charge, Cunanan said his time with Jet is changing his life.

"Having a job with Jet has made me probably more responsible," Cunanan said.

So do you think this could solve the stray animal problem back here in Corpus Christi? Let us know how you feel in the Quick Poll below, and go to our Facebook page to tell us your thoughts. We would like to hear your opinions.

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