Officer who adopted dog dragged from truck helps program for offenders
Three years ago, Round Rock police officer John Schultz adopted a dog who had been dragged almost a mile while tethered to a truck. Champ, a bull terrier, now spends his days at Schultz’s house sleeping and playing.
Schultz is celebrating Champ’s new lease on life by matching donations up to $5,000 for a program at a nonprofit that gives troubled youths and young adults a chance to work with dogs at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
Jail to Jobs, a Christian nonprofit based in Cedar Park, offers the animal shelter program to help people ages 15-24 who are on probation or were previously incarcerated develop coping skills and gain work experience.
The participants, including 20-year-old Chase Richardson of Georgetown, are paid $9 an hour from Monday through Friday to wash dishes, wash dog bedding materials and other laundry, clean up kennels and help train dogs at the shelter at 1855 SE Inner Loop in Georgetown.
Richardson said he likes his job at the shelter so much that he shows up to work early every day. He spent part of Thursday morning in an outside pen with Evan, a Siberian husky who has been at the shelter since July 7. Richardson got the dog to respond to the “sit” command and played with the dog, who nuzzled with him.
“Working with dogs makes me a lot happier,” Richardson said.
Sean Oliver, the Williamson County coordinator for Jail to Jobs, said he has seen other youths who have worked in the program at the animal shelter develop patience and learn life skills.
“Two brothers who had been homeless learned to wash and fold clothes,” he said.
Jail to Jobs also offers youths a chance to do other types of work, including culinary and construction programs.
“Our job is to get them a better job,” Oliver said.
The animal shelter program started in December 2020 and gives staffers at the regional center a break from the chores and more time to spend training and walking dogs, said April Peiffer, the shelter’s community programs coordinator.
The real estate company that Schultz owns, Chisholm Trail Properties, will help Schultz match donations for the animal shelter program at bit.ly/3xqWe6G until Tuesday.
Schultz, 47, said he became interested in helping troubled young people work with dogs because he believes it gives them a sense of purpose. He said some of the participants he has met were so scared of dogs when they started that they would not even touch Champ when he brought the dog to the center.
“Champ is the most mellow dog I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Schultz, who had the dog with him outside the shelter Thursday. Champed hopped around, sidling up to everyone who arrived.
Champ still can’t walk on his right back foot because being dragged caused him to lose bones, toenails and padding, Schultz said.
The bull terrier endured 20 to 30 operations after he fell out of a pickup and his previous owner dragged him on a tether attached to the vehicle in August 2019, leaving a trail of blood almost a mile long.
The previous owner was initially charged with animal cruelty but was not indicted by a Williamson County grand jury.
Champ is probably about 5 years old, Schultz said. The dog likes to chase squirrels and gets along well with Schultz’s three Boston terriers and his Belgian Malinois but also loves to stand outside and watch cows through the fence, the police officer said.
“He’s made me better appreciate life,” Schultz said.