MANSFIELD -- Charmer will be easier to adopt when he completes obedience training at the Mansfield Correctional Institution Cell Dogs program.
Thanks to a grant from the Richland County Foundation, his adoption will also be cheaper.
Richland County commissioners on Tuesday voted to accept a $250 donation from the We Above Me Alex Switzer Memorial Fund, money that will be used by county Dog Warden Missy Houghton to defray costs associated with adopting dogs trained in the prison program.
In the program, inmate handlers take dogs from the shelter, as well as a couple of area humane societies, and take them to the prison for basic training, Houghton said.
"They focus on basic obedience commands and manners -- sit, stay, heel, walking on a leash and (accepting) a crate," Houghton said.
The training process can take four to eight weeks, depending on the dog.
Currently, Charmer is the only dog in the program from the county dog shelter, Houghton said.
"Typically, the dogs we send out there are our longer-term residents. The staff and I look at the dog pool and figure out which ones would benefit the most from the training," the dog warden said.
Charmer is between 1 and 2 years old and has a slight neurological problem that causes him to lose his balance sometimes, Houghton said.
The current cost to adopt a dog from the shelter is $169, which includes spaying/neutering, microchipping, a license for the first year and the dog's DLPPP vaccine, which protects against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
In the case of Charmer, and other dogs that go through the MANCI Cell Dogs program, the cost will be reduced. Houghton said the shelter will likely use the grant to help reduce the cost of more than one dog.
Houghton said the shelter currently has 40 dogs in its case with more than 20 currently available for adoption.
The shelter puts a seven-day "hold" on dogs that arrive at the facility to give an owner time to reclaim the dog and also to ensure the animal carries no disease, she said.
If you are interested in adopting Charmer or another dog from the shelter, call (419) 774-5892.