Unleashing Potential: The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program

Unleashing Potential The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-07-09
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Unleashing Potential: The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program
Unit 2 Transcript: Unleashing Potential: The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program
Unit 3 Workbook: Unleashing Potential: The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program
Unit 4 Recording: Unleashing Potential: The Canine CellMates Model for Developing and Implementing a Human-Canine Rehabilitation Program

What do the incarcerated population and dogs in shelters have in common? Both were subjected to less-than-ideal situations and environments, both were rejected by society, and both would benefit from second chances toward a better life through rehabilitative approaches. The Canine CellMates Program was developed to address the issues both populations are struggling with in hopes of providing them with better outcomes. This webinar looks into how the program was spearheaded by Susan Jacobs-Meadows in Fulton County and the various elements she took into account during implementation.

Susan is the Founder and Executive Director of Canine CellMates, with her efforts starting in 2012 until its implementation in 2013.

Also joining the presentation are:

  • David Rosengard, Managing Attorney in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program
  • Jill Hollander, Deputy District Attorney over the newly formed Elder Abuse and Animal Cruelty Unit of the Fulton County District Attorney’s office

Specifics discussed in this session include:

  • A recap of the prequel webinar which discussed the importance of animal-forward jurisprudence.
  • The human-animal bond and the concept of the Link which served as the foundational basis of the Canine CellMates model.
  • The value of the Canine CellMates in addressing the animal welfare crisis as well as the high inmate recidivism rate.
  • The benefits of the Canine CellMates program to the…
    • Inmates who are tapped to become handers in terms of facilitating change by boosting their morale and self-image, providing them with a positive circle of influence, and presenting them with options.
    • Dogs that are exposed to better interactions with humans and building obedience skills making them more likely to be adoptable.
    • Community with enhanced interactions between corrections staff and inmates and improved facility environment, enriching social perceptions of incarcerated persons, and keeping communities safe.
  • The qualifications and assessments are made for inmates and dogs that are chosen to become a part of the program.
  • An overview of what the handlers and dogs partake in as program participants, the inclusion of the handlers’ curriculum, and the conditions that the program is avoiding.
  • What handlers gain by taking part in the Canine Cellmates program in terms of:
    • Responsible pet-ownership; empathy for animals; handling, training, and caring for dogs; employing positive reinforcement; and animal cruelty and its impact on dogs.
    • Gaining confidence and morale; better social skills; decision-making and choosing better choices; applying positive reinforcement to their own lives; and resilience.
  • The aftercare supports provided through the program as it relates to basic needs, employment, and emotional support.
  • A step-by-step walkthrough of the program implementation and critical factors that look into:
    • Starting the conversation, securing buy-in, championing the program, leadership, securing funding, recruitment, marketing, and partnerships.
    • Logistics and security considerations for the staff, equipment, supplies, the area, and media.
    • Personnel assignment, shifts, and evacuation plan.
    • Legal components as it relates to liability, insurance, and agreements between partners.
    • Selection of participants, their access within the facility, and graduation rites.
    • The mindset of the personnel to support and commit to the success of the program.
    • Timelines, training, procurement, and orientation to prepare for the program.
    • Moving the dogs in and matching them up with handlers.
    • Upkeep of the program through training classes, regular checks of the dogs, and feedback from handlers through progress and experience journaling as well as feedback forms.

Questions raised by webinar attendees are about:

  • The program’s funding sources.
  • How dogs were kept by the handlers in the dorms.
  • Handling jail staff and management turnover.
  • Handlers growing attached to the dogs and the option to adopt the dogs.


Other Webinars with this Organization


Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Animal Welfare webinars on the JCH Platform.


Audience Comments

  • “This is a good program for the inmates, may they repent of their wrong doing and choose what is right.”
  • “A very good webinar.”
  • “The presenters did a great job at promoting the program and showing the compassion that the program would promote between inmates and canines.”
  • “This was a phenomenal presentation about a fantastic program; thank you!”
  • “Wonderful vibes, wonderful presentation, and wonderful work! Thank you.”




Founded in 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund?s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interestsof animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission byfiling high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.





This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.





Additional Resources
5 days ago
After the Webinar: Unleashing the Potential – The Canine CellMates Model. Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar Presenters Susan Jacobs-Meadows and David Rosengard answered a number of your questions afte […]
2 months ago
Online Course: Dispatch Essentials – An Introduction to Animal Control Communication Coordination (National Certification)
Whether someone can’t find their beloved Fido, is asking about vaccination clinics, or are reporti […]
5 months ago
Better Futures for And With Animals: The Canine Cellmates Model for Post-Conviction Animal Care Programs
The Canine CellMates initiative is an innovative approach that pairs defendants with dogs that aren […]
2 years ago
Crime and Punishment: Exploring Restorative Justice and Peacemaking
Apart from the fact that corrections facilities are over capacity, it is also acknowledged that exis […]
2 years ago
Responding to Animal Crimes Through a Restorative Justice Approach
Restorative justice can be traced back to traditions and justice systems of indigenous and pre-indus […]
3 years ago
Understanding Wildlife Animal Cruelty
Animal law has gone leaps and bounds over the last few years in ensuring that animals are afforded p […]