Celebrating 10 Years at O.C. Probation (Press Release)


O.C. Probation celebrates its longest running program.

Cell Dogs’ PAW Program pairs rescue dogs with youth serving commitments in O.C. Probation facilities.

 The 10-year anniversary celebration event will take place at the Orange County Animal Care shelter on October 16th 2019 at 6 pm in Tustin. Invitation only.

SANTA ANA, California, September 9th 2019 – The Cell Dogs’ PAW Program celebrates its longest running rehabilitative program for youth, girls and boys aged 12-18 years. The program is a collaborative effort between local nonprofit Cell Dogs, Inc., O.C. Probation, and Orange County Animal Care shelter.

Cell Dogs’ PAW (Pups and Wards) Program helps rehabilitate minors by teaching them empathy, responsibility, and compassion. Probation youth live with the animals in their care and are tasked with teaching basic obedience commands and good manners. In return, the dogs teach their human companions responsibility, respect, and the rewards of unconditional love.

The PAW Program has impacted Orange County communities since 2009 in significant ways. It transforms incarcerated program participants, providing them (and the dogs they train) a valuable second chance at leading productive and responsible lives. Over 130 youth have been positively impacted and over 60 dogs (including a number of emotional support dogs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder) have been placed into new loving homes. The program also reduces euthanasia rates and costs for local shelters.

Recidivism rates are markedly lower for participating youth, saving taxpayer dollars. California recidivism rates for juvenile offenders are upwards of 55% within the first year of release. Recent research by the University of California Irvine found the recidivism rate for program participants to be just 16%. The Paw Program is one important factor in helping youth learn life skills that contribute to them not returning to an institutionalized life.

The first Paw Program (Pups and Wards) dog arrived in September 2009. The next cycle is planned to start in late September 2019.

“The Juvenile Hall / YLA PAWS program has been in existence for the past 10 years. The program involves connecting youth with a positive social program with puppies, drawing on community resources and engaging youth in pro-social activities and opportunities. The dogs live with the youth as their human caretakers.  This provides a chance for youth to help their K9 friends demonstrate their new skills and tricks and meet prospective new owners. PAWS is a natural fit for the youth we serve!” – Steve Sentman, Chief Probation Officer.

“Our mission is to keep saving lives, healing hearts and providing second chances. Along with our generous donors, our partners make all the difference. The Probation Dept. energetically supports our program and recognizes its positive and rehabilitative effects for both human and canine participants. Our success would not be possible without their many years of devoted collaboration.” – Janette Thomas, executive director of Cell Dogs.