Numerous animals are left homeless, often due to abandonment. They are subjected to danger from animal fights, diseases, and traffic altercations. Animals that roam the streets have a short life sentence. Inmates, on the other hand, are humans that are confined due to the errors of their way, feeling they have no purpose in life. The sheriff’s office in Key West, Florida found a way to help the inmates and local abandoned dogs by pairing them together.

Monroe County, Florida Detention Center Project

It is often common practice to ignore what is important in our lives and those of others, human and animal alike.

Such is the case both inside and out of the prison system until a new project was developed to give prisoners hope while also helping abandoned dogs find a home. This is a beautiful balance for both. The jail at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Stock Island Detention Center proved to be a unique facility for this project.

How the inmate and animal program got its start

The idea of the new project started 21 years ago due to an overwhelming number of ducks around the jail facility in Key West, Florida. To protect the endangered birds due to heavy traffic, a fence and pond were erected around the prison. Soon, other animals began to frequent around the area and the program culminated with the idea that the animals and inmates could help each other.

Curator Jeanna Selander from the Key West Aquarium joined the jail ten years ago to help with the program, although she was hesitant initially. However, she found it to be successful, and at least 150 animals have found a home at the facility. The animals get much-needed love, and attention they need and deserve and the inmates find more of a purpose in life.

The program is funded by the community as they give full support to those at the Detention Center. Ms. Selander told reporters that “A lot of the inmates maybe have never had anybody that cared about them,” she said. “And to see that the animals need them and means something to them. They take good care of them, and I have some of them say, ‘You’re in jail just like me.'”