Program gives dogs, inmates and at-risk youth a second chance

VENTURA, Calif. – Inmates at the Todd Road Jail Facility, and the youth at the Juvenile Facilities in El Rio, celebrated their dogs’ completion of training from the 16-week obedience program referred to as R.U.F.F. Road (Rehabilitation Utilizing Furry Friends) at the Todd Road Jail, and Pawsitive Steps at the Juvenile Facilities.

The two programs began in February 2017 and were completed with a graduation ceremony and celebration of adoption on June 20, 2017, at the Juvenile Facilities; and on June 21, 2017, at the Todd Road Jail. Representatives from the Board of Supervisors, Grand Jury, the Honorable Kevin McGee, and inmate and youth families and friends were in attendance.

The families who adopted the dogs from the R.U.F.F Road program attended the ceremony at the jail. Following a training demonstration and the graduation ceremony, the inmates handed off their dogs to their new owners. The youth at the Juvenile Facilities will be relinquishing their dogs this week to go to their new families. It is a bittersweet moment of joy and sadness as the youth and inmates have grown fond of their companions, but are happy to hand them over to their forever families, who will give them the love and support they deserve.

Both programs were a collaboration between Pivot Animal Assisted Educational Outreach, Ventura County Animal Services, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Probation Agency. At the Juvenile Facilities, the program was further enhanced by the collaborative efforts from Ventura County Behavioral Health and the Ventura County Office of Education.

During the ceremony, the youth and inmates had the opportunity to showcase their dogs’ new abilities by having them perform basic obedience and impressive tricks. They were also given the opportunity to share their experiences with the program and how it helped them and the dogs. During the ceremony, the youth and the inmates were presented with certificates of completion.

The Sheriff’s Office and Probation Agency would like to congratulate the youth, inmates, and everyone involved in making these programs a success. Farewell to Chance, Buddy, Lipit, Nino, and Hope. You all will be missed. Enjoy your new families.

For a video about the program, please visit:

Photo: Lipit, all dressed up for graduation.

Content from: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County Probation Agency

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