Former Jail Is Now An Animal Shelter Where Prisoners Look After Abused Dogs
Tiger, a pit bull terrier rescued from a dog fighting ring, and a host of other dogs in need of additional love and care now call it home.
MASH operates a program in which inmates at a jail care for abused dogs, providing them with the comfort they require to learn to trust people.
It’s a terrific program not just for the dogs who have been moved from bad conditions to the shelter, but also for the inmates who get to spend time with a bunch of pups.
Women in jail are moved to the shelter six days a week as part of the 30-day program.
Since 2000, the shelter has served as a safe haven for dogs, cats, and horses awaiting adoption, as well as a place for inmates to connect with animals.
Volunteers investigate animal cruelty accusations, go inside the animals’ homes to rescue them, and then return them to the shelter to heal.
After being turned into mini-rooms for the dogs, the cells were renamed Bow Wow Way, Purr Lane, 2nd Chance, and Ruff Road. Lovely.
‘I get so much out of it, possibly more than the dogs do,’ said Kristina Hazelett, one of the women in the program.
‘It’s incredibly therapeutic for me as well, not just them,’ she says, adding that it was an unexpected and nice surprise.
Before Kristina and the other women in the program could begin caring for the dogs, they had to go through lengthy interviews and examinations.
As part of the program, prisoners work with animal care experts to learn how to prepare the dogs for adoption, which has the added benefit of training many inmates for work with animals once they leave jail.
One of the inmates, Aubrey Herrera, has learned a lot by caring for the dogs.
‘These dogs are imprisoned just like us, and they need affection just like us,’ she explained.
‘When we come here, it’s not about us. Everything revolves around the pets.’