Madison County Detention Center looks to take in shelter dogs in honor of beloved comfort dog

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - In the yard of the Madison County Detention center, they pour concrete for their latest project.

But soon they'll replace the growl of cement mixers with a different kind of growling.

They plan to bring in shelter dogs to the jail.

They've got pens set up already for the project they call P.H.I.L.

It stands for Pets Heeling Inmates' Lives.

It's named for Prince Phillip, a rescue dog himself who spent time as a comfort dog in the Madison County Detention Center.

His owner, Program Specialist Terrill Tasker, remembers, "He just brought a whole lot of light and joy into the facility."

Prince Phillip passed away suddenly from health problems just days after we profiled him last year, but his legacy continues to flourish.

Because of him, the jail will bring in Huntsville shelter dogs set to be put down, care for them, and give them love.

They pick the inmates who will benefit carefully.

Tasker elaborates, "The majority will be minimum security, and they will not have any violent crimes in their past or current history. And we'll do a lot of screening with the inmates to make sure they are compatible with this program."

Because the benefits for those who occupy this space could prove life-altering.

Tasker notes, "When they come out of the program, when they go back out into society, they will actually gain vocational skills such as dog training and dog grooming."

Besides, the original Phil taught the folks at the jail the good it could do to just have a dog around.

Tasker adds, "I guess you could say it brought hope."

So rest in peace, Prince Phillip. You've done more good than you could ever know.

They won't use any taxpayer money for the program, so they need donations.

They can't take cash, but they desperately need dog food and other pet supplies.

You can drop them off at Hollywood Feed in Huntsville.

They plan to start with four or five dogs at first by the new year.

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