Canine CellMates, Best Friends Animal Society Pair Shelter Dogs With Inmates


Press Release: Best Friends Animal Society

Canine CellMates (CCM) recently opened in a new building this month in collaboration with Best Friends Animal Society. The building, which is located in Cobb County, will allow the CCM to continue its rehabilitation programs that use shelter dogs to change the lives of incarcerated men in Atlanta.

“We are delighted to announce that Canine CellMates finally has a permanent home,” said Susan Jacobs-Meadows, Founder and Executive Director of Canine CellMates. “This building will help us make changes to break the cycle of incarceration, and in turn help more animals and improve the community.”

The JCC began working with the Fulton County Jail in 2013 to provide a better life for rescued inmates and rescue dogs. The program is an intensive 10-week course, in which carefully selected participants are given the responsibility of caring for selected shelter dogs, with the aim of preparing them for adoption. In addition, inmates acquire valuable manpower and socio-emotional skills to help them break the cycle of recidivism. To date, over 400 inmates have participated in the CCM program and over 150 dogs have been adopted into forever homes.

“The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office actively supports the successful return of citizens to the community, thereby reducing their risk of reoffending,” said Fulton County Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat. “We congratulate the Canine CellMates program on its new facility and look forward to continuing our partnership to provide inmates with life-changing opportunities to rehabilitate rescue dogs while developing essential skills to forge their own path to positive lives. and productive. “

The new building is made possible by a grant from Best Friends Animal Society that will allow the CCM to double the number of men they can reach and dogs they can save. It was previously occupied by Atlanta’s best friends, who emerged during the pandemic to become a role model for remote foster care.

“We are delighted to provide a grant to Canine CellMates to rent our old building to continue their important work of rehabilitating incarcerated men using the life changing power of shelter dogs,” said Fraily Rodriguez, director of the centers Rescue – East, Best Friends Animal Society. “We were moved by their mission because we also believe in the healing power of dogs. We are proud to continue to work with organizations in the Atlanta area like CCM to save the lives of pets in shelters both in the Atlanta area and across the country.

In August, the CCM will launch the Beyond Bars program, which will be one of the country’s first pre-trial diversion programs focused on shelter dogs. Working in partnership with the district attorney’s office, they will carefully select eligible participants to complete a 90-day training program when pre-charging their building.rsz_1971433_594540120580930_850454430_n

“Canine CellMates is the type of innovative program that benefits our community in so many ways,” said Fani T. Willis, district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia. “It makes Fulton County safer by teaching participants the life skills they need to stay out of the criminal justice system. It benefits everyone because it helps them become productive citizens and they are much less likely to commit crimes again. “

In addition to being the headquarters of the CCM and the home of the new Beyond the Bars program, this building will serve as a resource for current and past CCM program participants, and will house 12-step meetings, courses and workshops, and trade fairs. employment. This will also allow the CCM to house the dogs in its program that are waiting for their permanent homes.

Now more than ever, with overcrowded prisons and the lack of support services for inmates, cycles of repeated arrests will continue without rehabilitation services like the CCM. Rehabilitation is about ending the cycle of recidivism that will otherwise continue to burden the correctional system and American taxpayers.

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the slaughter of dogs and cats in American shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer of the movement no-kill and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from around 17 million per year to around 347,000. Best Friends runs rescue programs across the country, as well as the world’s largest sanctuary. animals without killing the country. Working in conjunction with a network of more than 3,300 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends strives to save them all.

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