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Just a Thought - Inmates benefit Animal Control

The new inmate work program offered by Warren County Sheriff’s Department to help Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center is a winner, in my opinion. 

I was in the meeting when Animal Control director Kim Pettrey first mentioned to members of the county Health and Welfare Committee that Sheriff Tommy Myers offered to allow female trustees to help clean, once staff underwent training and safety precautions were met. 

To be honest, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. If you’ve ever had to slice bread, you know exactly what I’m talking about. However, there were two naysayers in attendance – visitors, not commissioners. The commissioners seemed unanimously in favor. 

One woman was very negative about having inmates at Animal Control. She was adamant against. I got the distinct impression that she thought inmates couldn’t be trusted, they were bad, and nothing good could come from them working outside the jail. 

I didn’t agree with any of her statements. Not one. The jail isn’t full of bad people. It’s full of people who’ve made bad decisions. Obviously, that statement excludes any inmates who have not had their cases settled. We still live in a country where people are innocent until proven guilty. 

I desperately wanted to ask that woman if she’s ever made a poor decision. Who hasn’t? If you show me someone who’s never had a lack of judgment and regretted it later, I’ll show you someone who’s in denial or flat out lying. 

I kept thinking, “These are trustees.” 

The distinction as a trustee says it all. Trustees must display the ability to get along with other inmates, trustees and correctional officers. To be considered for trustee, an inmate must have a good jail record. One toe out of line and that ends. 

This woman was also very critical of center employees and their lack care of the animals. 

OK, you want to deny employees help from trustees, but criticize employees in the same breath for not being able to take better care of the animals? With a staff of two full-time employees and one part time, these people are attempting to take care of over 100 animals confined in a very small space. I couldn’t even imagine how impossible that would be. I have one dog and that’s about all I can handle. 

Importantly, trustees are not allowed at the center when it’s open. That’s a safety precaution to prevent them from coming into contact with the general public. I did request and received permission so I’ve been there and spoken to the ladies. They’re very nice. Each of them seems to love helping care for the animals and appreciates the opportunity. At least one knew who I was. Shout out to you, girl. She said her release date was in a few weeks and she had a puppy picked out. I wish you the best. 

This program is a win-win for both the jail and the center. Thank you, Sheriff Tommy Myers.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.