Jail Dogs is a cooperative program involving the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and jail, and the Society of Humane Friends, according to AccessWDUN.
A group of dogs of various breeds and sizes are participating in a weekly training exercise at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. They follow basic commands like “sit” and “speak” and occasionally pull on the leash held by their handler, who is also an inmate at the jail.
The dogs are a part of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Operation Second Chance, also known as the Jail Dogs program, which rescues dogs from local animal shelters and pairs them with jail inmates. The dogs live with their inmate handlers inside of their jail cells and participate in weekly training exercises with them.
Operation Second Chance began in 2010 when Sheriff Butch Conway learned of the staggering amount of animals being euthanized in Gwinnett County. His concern prompted him to contact the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia and its founder Dennis Kronenfeld, which led to a partnership and the creation of the Jail Dogs program. Volkodav said that Conway chose to work with the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia to make the Jail Dogs program more community-oriented.
The inmates themselves volunteer to participate in the program, but have to undergo a screening process because some charges can prevent them from joining the unit. Volkodav said that the inmates in the program are usually non-violent offenders and none of them face animal cruelty charges.
One inmate was so inspired by his time with the Jail Dog unit that he published a book about his experience- while still in jail. Shane Hawkins told his mother what to write as they would talk on the telephone, then she compiled all of the information together and sent it to the publisher. The book From Trouble to Train is available on Amazon.
Volkodav ended by stating that the program is a legacy for Sheriff Butch Conway, who will retire at the end of this year.
“Sheriff Butch Conway is known for being an animal advocate and Operation Second Chance, this Jail Dog program, is a wonderful legacy that he leaves behind as he moves into the retirement phase of his life,” said Volkodav. “It’s a great fingerprint that he’s left in our community by providing this program.”
She said that she expects for the program to continue even after Conway leaves his position.
“I would expect it would continue indefinitely, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to rescue these unwanted dogs and cats,” said Volkodav.
Timber came from a local shelter after being surrendered by his family when they could no longer care for him. He is a unique looking guy with his brindle coloring and ears that flop one way and then another. Timber is house trained and picking up very quickly on his basic obedience skills. He enjoys spending time with all the puppies in the unit, but not a big fan of the larger high energy dogs.
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That’s me, Roxy! I love stuffed animal toys, long walks, playing tug, and being loved on. I can sit, stay, come, and lay down. I’m pretty strong, so I’d do best in a house without small kids. My handler says I wake him up every day with the sweetest Roxy smile. She’s wonderful with humans, but is not always comfortable with other dogs, so she’d do best as an only dog.
Bud loves people but would be best as an only dog. He loves playing with sticks and chewing on bones. Bud would do well with a large backyard. He loves to howl when he hears sirens and noises outside. He can be energetic. He gets along with some dogs, (females better than males) but can be very dominate. He loves to play with a ball and is very treat motivated. He is a quick study and knows basic commands such as sit, down, relax, stay, come and shake.