Inmates bottle feed foster kittens in prison program

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By Karen Harrison Binette


Kittens get 24-hour care and socialization, a shelter gets some much needed help and prisoners get companionship and a sense of purpose in a prison program matching motherless kittens and inmates.

Inmates at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, a medium security facility in Connell, Washington, have participated in a successful program where they have helped train hundreds of stray and orphaned dogs to get them ready for adoption. Now the program has expanded to include kitten fostering for the Benton-Franklin Humane Society .

Local TV station KEPR visited the prison and spoke with inmates involved in the new program, which is on its second generation of kittens now.  The program is working well and will be expanded to include more inmates and kitten-hosting cells.

The prisoners who care for kittens keep them in their cells and are on duty 24 hours a day. With young kittens, they provide bottle feedings every two hours.

“It’s like having a pet in prison,” said inmate James Guthrie, who has plenty of experience with baby animals..

“I come from a farm, I have helped raise baby calves, and you got to bottle feed them. I think, you know, they deserve a chance just like everything else.”

“Every two to three hours like clockwork and if I’m a minute late they’ll let me know,” one inmate said, with a smile.

“The kittens need a lot of care; they are able to provide that care. It helps the men; it helps the kittens, win-win. And the adopting public, they get a great kitten,” said Benton-Franklin Humane Society’s Operation Manager Elaine Allison.

“It gives you a sense of accomplishment you know to see them go from just a little baby that’s got to drink out of a bottle to now they are playing they are eating solid food,” said James.


Watch the KEPR report on the story:





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