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Orange County’s shelter dogs benefit from second-hand inmate clothing

Dozens of shelter dogs will wait for their forever homes a little more comfortably thanks to a recycling program that repurposes inmate clothing and blankets to make dog beds and chew toys.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department in December donated more than 100 beds and toys to OC Animal Care as part of Jails to Tails – a sustainability program run by personnel at the Theo Lacy facility.

In 2013, Theo Lacy evaluated its practices and looked for innovative ways to divert waste from local landfills, with the Jails to Tails program being among the ideas.

The facility goes through 15 tons of clothing and bedding every year. When inmate clothing cannot be repaired or recycled into machine shop rags, it gets shredded and stuffed into large pillowcase-like pockets made out of old jail bed sheets.   

Since the program’s inception, Jails to Tails has donated more than 700 items to OC Animal Care.