Jail to honor dog who spent past year visiting inmates, detention officers

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Twin Towers Correctional Facility staff will hold a congratulatory event Thursday in honor of a yellow Labrador retriever that has spent the past year in the care of a sheriff's department custody assistant and regularly visited with inmates as part of the pup's training with Guide Dogs of America.    

The dog, Gretel, has worked as a team over the past 14 months with her foster “puppy raiser,” Custody Assistant Deanna Valenzuela, a 17-year Sheriff's Department veteran.

According to the Sheriff's Department, Gretel will officially leave Valenzuela's care on July 15 and return to Guide Dogs of America for her formal training as a guide or service dog. Valenzuela has been working with Gretel since April 8, 2022.

Valenzuela ``has assisted Gretel in achieving many milestones required for her transition into becoming either a guide or service dog. Gretel has learned basic house obedience rules and is now ready to move to the next training phase," according to the Sheriff's Department.

During their time together, Valenzuela and Gretel visited general population inmates, inmates with mental illness, and even LASD staff at other county jail facilities, sheriff's officials said.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Assistant Sheriff Sergio Aloma, Chief Margarita Valasquez, and Twin Towers Correctional Facility staff will host a congratulatory event ``in honor of Gretel's amazing accomplishments,” sheriff's officials said.

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