GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County's Operation Second Chance makes regular appearances on Good Day Atlanta's Pet of the Day segment, which finds loving homes for dogs and cats. The benefits to the animals are obvious, but often overlooked are the benefits to the inmates who train them.
Three months after being released from the Gwinnett County Jail, Simon Fine returned to share his story with inmates, hoping man's best friend can help them turn around their lives too. In 2010, Fine caused a crash while driving under the influence, seriously injuring himself and two other people.
"It was a lot of grief and a lot of guilt, took me quite some time to forgive myself," Fine said.
Fine's turning point came when he heard about the jail dogs program, which was started by Sheriff Butch Conway in 2010.
Operation Second Chance rescues dogs from animal control. Inmates train them, then the dogs are put up for adoption.
In six years, the program has saved 335 dogs and 55 cats.
Fine applied the concepts to his life. He knows he never can take back what he did, but he can still be a success story.
"You have to make life choices in positive direction," he said. "You have to wake up every morning and be like 'I'm going to be a better person and not a better criminal.'"