Officer who adopted dog dragged from truck helps program for offenders

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. 

Chase Richardson teaches Evan to sit Thursday at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter 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.

READ: Round Rock officer adopts dog dragged from truck

“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.

Jail to Jobs coordinator Sean Oliver, left, helps Chase Richardson with the laundry Thursday at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. Oliver, formerly incarcerated himself, instructs and mentors the juveniles in the program. "Once they graduate here, they are ready to go into the workforce. Employers don't see their record; they see they graduated from the jobs program and can do the work."

“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. 

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