Save-A-Pet founder and president Dori Scofield is looking to pair orphaned pets with low risk inmates at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead, NY.
“I really feel that the inmates need a positive outlet, and it’s a way to instill hope in them as well as the animals,” she stated.
Her proposal (which must be approved by the sheriff’s office) calls for an 8-week program that would connect six county inmates with six dogs and two trainers from Save-A-Pet, who would work with them for two hours a week in learning how to care for and train the dogs while familiarizing the animals with people and new surrounding.
Inmates would also be able to learn how to achieve animal welfare careers such as pet sitting, dog training, veterinary assistant, kennel caretaker and even animal behaviorist for when they are released.
“We want the inmates to bind with the dogs.”
Scofield also emphasized the fact that caring for the canines “could be therapeutic for the inmates by creating a sense of responsibility and enhance their social skills.”
All the dogs involved in the program would come from the Save-A-Pet Animal Adoption Center in Pt. Jefferson, Long Island and would undergo temperament training, be fully vaccinated and neutered/spayed before being assigned to their incarcerated caretakers.
The program has the backing of Suffolk County legislator Sarah S, Anker (D-Mt Sinai), who has agreed to accompany Scofield when she meets with officials from the sheriff’s office on October 9th.
Similar programs pairing of pets and prisoners have met with great success in other parts of the country including Larch Corrections Center, a minimum security facility in Yacolt, WA (see http://www.examiner.com/article/felines-and-felons).
Readers interested in adopting a dog or cat from Save-A-Pet at 608 Patchogue Rd., Pt. Jefferson Station, NY 631 473-6333