Janette Thomas

Janette Thomas

Executive Director/Certified Instructor

After a successful, 25-year corporate career as an engineering and executive manager in global product and market development in the microelectronics industry, Janette re-invented herself to follow her dream of working with dogs and people.

Her early determination to become a veterinarian was not possible due to gender quotas at the time but in the amazing journey of the past 14 years (which all started with the adoption of a rescue dog, Reese’s) she has been personally responsible for starting and running six shelter dog training programs at local correctional institutions. Her love of animals and community has resulted in 300+ shelter dogs trained and lovingly adopted, including numerous service dogs who went on to change the lives of people living with disabilities.

She has received numerous recognitions for her efforts:

  •  Orange County Animal Care – Volunteer of the Year 2007
  • Spirit of Volunteerism – Orange County 2009
  • Orange County Animal Care – Volunteer Recognition Awards: 2008-2017
  • OC Probation Department: Volunteer of the Year – 2011
  • 2013 “Points of Light” Honoree by President George Bush
  • PBS “Shelter Me – Second Chances” Documentary, released Feb. 2014
  • Orange County Register “Everyday Hero” recognition, March 3, 2014
  • Orange County Register “Everyday Hero of the Month” – March 2014
  • Orange County Animal Care Advisory Board: 2008 – 2016
  • Orange County Animal Care Advisory Board Chair: 2015-2016
  • Golden State Humane Society Board: 2017 – Present
Anna Gilnets

Anna Gilnets

Certified Service Dog Trainer

Anna found her passion for dogs over 20 years ago when she began her career as a trainer. She has taught countless dogs and people, and her experience includes basic obedience, behavior modification, AKC CGC certification (American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen), agility, therapy work, and service work for dogs of various breeds and ages. Anna joined the team in 2013 to help transition dogs coming out of the correctional programs. Currently, she’s in charge of the important work of training our basic obedience graduates for service work.


Janet Quintanilla

Janet Quintanilla

Administrative Support

Janet had been familiar with Cell Dogs for over 10 years and, after retiring from an administrative position, she joined us in 2016. Janet brings her love for dogs as well as a passion for building relationships between trainers, inmates, and dogs. As behind-the-scenes support for the team, she fields calls and emails, screens adoption applications, and creates newsletters and announcement flyers. Janet uses a wheelchair to navigate life and appreciates help from her service dog Dusty, a Cell Dogs graduate. Janet thrives on the positive outcome the program provides to its human and canine participants.

Hanna Kiss

Hanna Kiss

Communications & Outreach

Hanna has worked in marketing and communications representing major film studios and television networks across Europe for over 10 years. She recently moved to Southern California and, looking for a rewarding career change, she joined the dedicated Cell Dogs team in 2017 to be a part of the program’s growth. Hanna’s favorite dogs are Hungarian Vizslas, and she is hoping to have a couple of them one day soon.


Debbie Van Story

Certified Trainer

Debbie spent many years as a successful photographer taking pictures of everything from concerts and Hollywood red carpet events to nature and abstract subjects. Her love of dogs and photography merged in 2011 at OC Animal Care when she began photographing the shelter dogs that needed more exposure for adoption interest. She has helped restart the lives of countless dogs during her 3000+ hours of volunteering and received numerous awards for her dedication. Debbie started working with the Cell Dogs program trainers in 2019.

Woman with dog

Lynn Middleton

Concept Dog Trainer

Lynn came to Orange County 4 years ago following 31 years in the teaching profession in her native Scotland. Formerly a physical education instructor and high school counselor, she was motivated to use her skill set in ways which would bring new challenges. A formally trained Concept Dog Trainer, she currently uses many of her teaching and communication techniques as a professional dog trainer. Lynn’s two passions, working with young people and dogs, are a perfect fit for the Cell Dogs team.