- Animal shelters need all the help they can get placing pets with families in the community. And correctional facilities look for ways inmates can give back to the community. Two local facilities have partnered to meet those needs.
An unusual partnership? Maybe. But it looks like one that will be mutually beneficial.
Getting a dog ready for adoption often means teaching obedience and social skills, which takes time and resources.
It's a task inmates at the McNaughton Correctional Center will take on to help the Oneida County Humane Society.
"Each case will be different; each dog with have their own specific needs. One dog may need social skills. Other dogs might need just basic skills like 'sit', 'lay down'," says Bria Swartout, from the Oneida County Humane Society.
McNaughton houses inmates who are finishing sentences and getting ready to re-enter society. Many of them already participate in work release programs.
Superintendent Brad Kosbab believes the program will help more than just the animal shelter.
"They'll get some satisfaction that, one, they're doing something from the community. It will give the inmate a sense of accomplishment in the fact that they'll be able to see from start to finish results and what it does for the dog. It will also help, like I said, with some of those interpersonal skills," says Kosbab.
The center will choose inmates based on behavior and records. Kosbab says McNaughton has always had a good relationship with surrounding communities.
"We also want to expand into new relationships and we want to be a good community partner with everybody and this just seemed like a pretty cool way to do that," says Kosbab.
The program won't cost taxpayers any money. The humane society will still have to foot the bill for the upkeep of the dogs, so community support is appreciated. You can contact the Oneida County Humane Society if you'd like to donate.