Pen Pals animal shelter is a non-profit animal shelter located at Dixon Correction Institute in Jackson, and it is run by “an animal-loving prison official and staffed by some exceptional inmates.”
Spurred by curiosity, People magazine decided to take a visit this month, to see what all of the fuss was about.
Pen Pals animal shelter was created to house homeless animals after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, when the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) needed to find a home for hundreds of animals; it also gives inmates something to care for and love. Inmates from Dixon Correctional Institute get to care and train the animals in the shelter seven days a week.
“It’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me,” Wylie Vanscoter, 22, a lifelong animal lover and former drug addict convicted of armed robbery at 17 told People. “I kinda have found what I was supposed to do in life here.”
Another inmate told People that the animals are much like frightened prisoners when they arrive, in an environment that they are not used to, and they care for them and strive to give them a better life.
According to People, HSUS officials were so pleased with the work and care that the inmates at Dixon Correctional provided, that they granted $600,000 to the prison, in order to build a permanent facility back in 2010.
Pen Pals is the only animal shelter in all of East Feliciana parish, and it includes: a medical clinic, and outdoor course, and has an incredible record of successfully placing cats and dogs in homes over the past four years.
If you are moving to Louisiana, Baton Rouge movers urge families to check out the one-of-a-kind facility and adopt a new pet for your new home, helping assuage the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.