Frasier Valley Humane Society
The Frasier Valley Humane Society in Mission, Canada, created a cat shelter that helps the inmates at a local minimum security prison, as well as cats. Ferndale (minimum security prison) has a population of 178 inmates, all of whom have a job on the grounds. The possibility of a shelter was proposed to the prison Warden who saw the potential immediately.
The win-win here was the animals get excellent care and love, the inmates are able to exhibit love and empathy to the animals— something they normally cannot show, and the community is served in a big way.
How It Works
A willing Warden is crucial— the program could not happen otherwise. The inmates must also see the potential. An outside organization (i.e. the Humane Society) is necessary for coordination. The prison system provides the building and the inmates— all other costs are borne by the Society.
At the prison there was a suitable building of approx. 1,000 square feet with a concrete floor. There was a shed roof that came off a portion of the building so they enclosed the area with wire mesh and a concrete block floor and made an outside patio. This is a great favorite of the cats and kittens with climbing platforms and tree limbs— who are also able to watch the ducks and birds around the pond.
All the cats and kittens live communally and the inside is set up with sofas, chairs and climbing platforms. There are large cages— built by the inmates— for nursing mums and kittens. The cats and kittens are relaxed, secure, socialized and very happy. There is an adoption day once a month at the shelter— the third Saturday. And they also have a few spots for cats that are very elderly, or special needs, where they can stay forever. Every cat will stay at the shelter for as long as they need— there is no euthanasia.
The inmates have performed many miracles with cats that come to the shelter traumatized or otherwise in shock. The love and care from the inmates is very healing— for the cats and the inmates.
Things to Keep in Mind
Any of the inmates attached to the program are eligible to take courses on animal care through the University College of the Cariboo. Frasier Valley Humane Society are paying for the education by selling shrubs grown on the prison property. Where there's a will, there's a way!
Visit the ASPCA Online Store for more Great Shelter Ideas.