Sheriff's Dept. Program Brings Inmates and Animals Together

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Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - The Laramie County Sheriff's Department has a new outside work program for qualifying inmates to spend time helping out around the Cheyenne Animal Shelter.

According to Deputy Rick Watson, Sheriff Danny Glick wanted to find an outside program for the inmates, and Watson said he knew the animal shelter was the perfect fit.

"This is a great tool for the shelter," said Watson, "they get hard workers, the work the inmates do is good, they do all kinds of things, whatever the shelter needs."

Bob Fecht said he supports the program for a number of reasons. "It gives them a purpose, it helps us, they cut the grass which is good because our maintenance man is allergic," said Fecht.

In addition to landscape work, inmates wash dishes, do laundry, and clean kennels. But the favorite part of the day for the five person crew, interacting with the animals.

"I love working with animals, it's so much fun," said Ashley Cromwell. She's an inmate at the Laramie County Detention Facility and she said when she's released, she plans on adopting a dog from the shelter."

Inmate Brian Bell said working with the dogs is a stress reliever for man and canine. And Lea Hehr knows why she likes working with the dogs.

"They're locked up just like us," she said. She added that she's grateful for the opportunity to come out and spend time with the animals.

For John McGinn, he likes every minute of his time at the shelter. "I like feeling needed, feeling useful," he said, "and animals are a passion of mine so this is great."

Watson said only a select handful of inmates are eligible for the program. They are the lowest risk inmates, non-violent offenders, and Watson said they go through a mental and medical evaluation before they can come to the shelter.

The inmates come three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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