LA County to bring dog training program to juvenile halls

Young people incarcerated at county juvenile detention facilities will have the chance to work with and train dogs from local shelters under a program approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Proposed by Supervisor Janice Hahn, the county will provide up to $250,000 to bring the Paws for Life program to juvenile facilities. The program will bring dogs from city of Los Angeles animal shelters to the juvenile halls, where incarcerated youth will learn to train them, making the animals more adoptable.

The program is designed to give the youth job-training skills as well as emotional and mental health management life skills, according to Hahn's office.

"Animal training, specifically training with dogs, has been demonstrated to provide multiple benefits to detained individuals," according to the motion. "The program creates pathways for both the trainer and the dog as each achieves stability and comfort in their respective living arrangements."

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The program will start operating first at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.

"The incarcerated young people at our juvenile facilities want something to do and deserve more programming," Hahn said in a statement. "The Paws for Life program is special and I hope it gives the young people an opportunity to not only learn new skills but find comfort and companionship with these shelter dogs. Each of these young people has so much potential and it is our responsibility to help them reach it."

The Paws for Life K9 Rescue program already operates in adult prisons.