F.I.D.O. (Faith + Inmates + Dogs = Opportunity)
FIDO was established September 4, 2008.
The FIDO shelter dog prison program addresses 3 issues: First, it saves healthy loving dogs from euthanasia and puts them in loving homes. Next, it provides rehabilitation for the inmates. Finally, it encourages responsible pet ownership by having our dogs spayed/ neutered, making every attempt to ensure that the adoption is a good fit, and ensuring animals are adopted to owners who will give them loving homes and make a commitment to the life of that animal.
This program can help inmate/handlers become productive members of society when they are released back into the community. In Indiana alone 16,000 inmates are released back into our community each year. We certainly want them better coming out than they were before going into prison. We believe this dog program is one way to do this.
For the inmates serving life sentences, their mission in life may very well be to become being a champion for animals that society throws away.
>> 21 dogs are in the program at one time with 36 inmate handlers caring for and training them.
>> 106 dogs have gone through this program – 90 have been adopted.
The South Madison Community Foundation awarded FIDO a $5,000.00 grant for 2009.
Research shows that working with animals can help humanize inmates who have been incarcerated for long periods of time. It teaches them responsibility, how to interact in a group using non-violent methods to solve problems and gives them the unconditional love of a pet – something many of these inmates have never known.
FIDO dogs are obedience trained and socialized by the prison inmates. The $150 adoption fee covers spay/neuter, vaccinations, de-worming, microchip, and heart worm test (and current with monthly preventative). They are house trained, crate trained, and know their five basic commands. If interested in meeting a FIDO dog, please contact Maleah Stringer at 765-278-9435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADOPTABLE F.I.D.O. DOGS
(Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation and Dedication)
A new program at Pendleton Correctional Facility is getting shelter cats out of their cages and into the laps of prisoners. FORWARD provides a dozen cats with a large room of their own where prisoners care for them. The cats are able to interact with people, increasing their chances of adoption, and participating prisoners learn responsibility by feeding, grooming and cleaning up after the felines.
FORWARD began in March 2015. To work with the cats, inmates must be screened and complete an interview with an employee of the The Animal Protection League. The cats' prison sanctuary was made possible through donations, and much of their play area — which includes scratching posts and floor-to-ceiling climbing structures — was built from recycled materials by the inmates.
Although the sanctuary isn't open to the public, the cats can be adopted by prison staff or inmates' families. When a kitty gets a forever home, APL brings another cat into the prison sanctuary. It may seem like the cats benefit the most from the program, but APL Director Maleah Stringer says the inmates take away just as much from it.
"I've had offenders tell me when they got an animal, it was the first time they can remember they were allowing themselves to care about something, to love something," she said. "That's a pretty powerful statement."