I knew I liked Ed Rendell.

I especially sympathized with him when he blew up at "60 Minutes" correspondent Leslie Stahl a couple weeks ago over her repeated questions about whether Pennsylvania casinos were fueling compulsive gambling . Rendell's point was obvious and perfectly legitmate (even if it's bad news for Atlantic City): Gambling is everywhere. He's not creating problem gamblers - he's just redirecting their money into Pennsylvania's coffers rather than New Jersey's.

But now I really know I like him: The first project the guy targets after leaving office is one that http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/20110118_Rendell_wants_to_solve_2_problems_with_one_program__dogs_for_inmates.html" target="_blank">creates a network of animal shelters at state prisons. The idea, first, is to help out struggling shelters. In Pennsylvania, at least, many of them have stopped accepting strays. And, secondly, it helps prisoners, who bond with the animals and learn a sense of responsibility. Similar programs been successful at several prisons in Pennslvania and elsewhere, although it does cost money.

RendellĀ has pledged to raise funds for the effort.

What a terrific idea.

Some forms of this program exist in New Jersey. Some prisons in North Jersey, for example, train dogs for service use. But I'm not aware of a similar program here that houses strays in prisons, relieving the pressure on stressed animal shelters and helping prisoners as well.

In financially strapped New Jersey, there's no way the state could put money into something like this. But wouldn't it be great if some animal-loving politicians could figure out a way to facilitate an effort here, similar to what Rendell is pushing? (Maybe Cape May, Cumberland Sen. Jeff Van Drew, whose district includes a state prison?)

Locations

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.