As he leaves office, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is focused on a pet cause he hopes will help ease two problems at once: He wants to give pooches to prisoners. The Philadelphia Inquirer says the goal is to make a dent in the state's burgeoning stray-animal crisis, while giving selected inmates responsibility for dogs – a pairing that has worked well in prisons that have tried it.Rendell wants to create a network of animal shelters at state prisons to respond to the rising number of shelters that no longer accept stray dogs and cats. In what may be his first action as a civilian, Rendell, who leaves office today, plans to announce his shelter plan as early as this week. “I hear it's worked well elsewhere,” Rendell said. He vowed to raise money for the potentially costly network – no mean promise in light of Rendell's legendary gifts as a fund-raiser. While the statewide network he envisions might be a first, using inmates as animal trainers and caretakers is not novel. Prisons around the U.S. – including at least four in Pennsylvania – have programs that match selected inmates with dogs. In some cases, inmates get special training, and train dogs to help the disabled or to serve as companion animals for families.