Programs aim to help both Austin animals and inmates

Austin Animal Services and Travis County are teaming up to create two programs for inmates.

City council approved agreements to make Kittens 101 and Dogs 101 permanent. The two programs are the result of a partnership between Austin Animal Services and Travis County. 

Kittens 101 allows inmates to foster kittens until they can be adopted.  In Dogs 101, male inmates learn to train dogs.

Leaders at the Austin Animal Center said the programs provide safe homes for the animals and growth opportunities for inmates.

"It really changes their morale," explained Lauralei Combs, program manager at Austin Animal Services. "They come in, you know, quiet and they leave with a smile on their face. We've been teaching classes there for over a year so I can a testament to that myself. I've seen the improvements. But it also teaches them a skill that they can take out into the real world."

The Austin Animal Center and Travis County jail will try the program for a year. If all goes well, the contract can be extended for an additional two years

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