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Canines, cons given second chance

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A French restaurant in downtown Lawrenceville is hosting a fundraiser slated to help save the lives of homeless Gwinnett dogs.

A Friday dinner at La Provence French Bakery and Cafe will benefit the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department's Operation Second Chance Program, which pairs sheltered dogs with inmates as a restorative means for both, leaders say.

The pilot program should be under way at the jail next month, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

Up to 10 dogs slated to be euthanized at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter will live in kennels in jail cells. Their care and obedience training will be the responsibility of suspects awaiting trial, or convicted inmates awaiting relocation to prison.

"The inmates will be getting a second chance to learn vocational and socialization skills that will help them once they're released," Bourbonnais said. "The dogs will get a second chance at finding permanent homes."

The Society of Humane Friends -- a nonprofit rescue group that operates a small, licensed shelter in Lawrenceville -- will host the Friday fundraiser. Proceeds will help feed, spay and neuter the animals, as well as cover veterinarian bills.

Leaders with the Society say the program exposes the dogs to human affection while improving the attitude of inmates.

The dinner fundraiser is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the 50 S. Clayton St. restaurant. A special $15 menu will be offered, and reservations are encouraged.

Reach the restaurant by calling 678-377-8745. For more information, or to donate to the Operation Second Chance Program, call the Society of Humane Friends at 678-332-7591 or 770-355-8286.