KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) – A one-of-a-kind refuge managed by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office within the Florida Keys advantages the animals, inmates, and the general public.
The Children’s Animal Farm, on the grounds of the sheriff’s workplace detention middle close to Key West, homes about 150 home and unique animals from 45 species.
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Last Sunday, the farm was open to the general public for his or her annual Easter celebration full with the “Easter Bunny,” in addition to inmate trusties who launched visiting households to resident animals.
“This is an animal sanctuary and we take in animals that have been abandoned, abused, confiscated, or donated,” mentioned animal farm supervisor Jeanne Selander. “They come to us because they need a home, and we give them a forever home.”
Nicknamed “Farmer Jeanne,” Selander oversees a crew of chosen trusties who assist take care of the animals. All are screened and categorized as being secure to work outdoors the detention middle and work together with the general public.
“The inmates working on the farm benefit the farm because we have a workforce that can actually help care for the animals,” mentioned Selandar. “And it’s beneficial to the inmates because they get to be outside, they get to work with the animals, they get to feel like they’re making a difference.”
Trusties feed, water, and look after animals that vary from pigs and miniature horses to Kramer the emu, Cricket the armadillo, an alligator, kinkajous, a pair of lemurs, and a 70-year-old African spurred tortoise dubbed Albert. They additionally construct habitats, paint, and restore fences.
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“It’s calming, very calming,” mentioned trusty Michael Hernandez. “Keeps you out of trouble, keeps your mind focused. You know you’re in the outside world.”
The distinctive facility is often open to the general public on the second and fourth Sundays of every month.
The solely indications of the farm’s jail setting are the barbed wire atop its tall surrounding fences and the orange detention jumpsuits worn by the inmates.
Hernandez, who described himself as an “animal person,” believes he’ll proceed to spend time on the farm even after his jail time period ends.
“As a matter of fact, when I get out, I’m hoping to visit the farm to do some more work on the farm, paint some more, play with the animals some more — you know, so they won’t forget me,” he mentioned.
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