State inmates to live with, train service dogs

HOUTZDALE, Pa. (AP) – A dozen inmates at a central Pennsylvania state prison will begin training service dogs – who will live in the inmates’ cells – in December.

Officials at the State Correctional Institution-Houtzdale say three inmates will be used to train each of the four Labrador puppies who will be housed at the prison.

Only model inmates with excellent work and behavioral histories will be considered for the program. They’ll be trained to train the dogs by prison employees.

United Disability Services is partnering with the prison. The nonprofit supplied service dogs to people in more than 30 Pennsylvania counties. Though most dogs assist people with mobility issues, some of the agency’s dogs are used for children with various types of autism.

The dogs will stay at the prison until they’re 15 to 18 months old.

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