Faith Plus Inmates Plus Dogs Equals Opportunity, or FIDO for short, is a winning equation for animals and inmates at the state prison in Pendelton. Maleah Stringer with the Animal Protection League developed the program to save dogs from euthanasia and teach inmates new skills. While serving time for crimes ranging from theft to murder, they care for 16 dogs until the animals can be placed in permanent homes.
“The offenders become better offenders – less difficult to deal with. They’ve learned to care for something other than themselves. They take ownership in the program. It helps them with responsibility issues – following rules,” said Stringer.
Stringer adds having the animals at the prison has helped to lessen the violence.
“A lot of these guys have pretty much shut down their emotions and just basically hardened their hearts. And the animals have a way of getting their humanity back for them, because they finally start to care about something other than themselves,” Stringer explained.
Stringer says all animal shelters in Indiana struggle with pet overpopulation problems. People can help by having their animals spayed or neutered.