Inmates in Serbian prison care for stray mutts while serving time
Published : Feb 3, 2018, 1:04 pm IST
Updated : Mar 20, 2018, 3:08 pm IST
The prison in Sremska Mitrovica, northwest of Belgrade, has set up a shelter for stray dogs within the prison compound and tasked a group of inmates with taking care of the animals. (Photos: AP)
A group of prisoners walk dogs in Serbia's biggest prison in Sremska Mitrovica, northwest of Belgrade.
A stray dog peers from out of his cage at a dog shelter in Serbia's biggest prison in Sremska Mitrovica, northwest of Belgrade. A Serbian prison has set up a shelter for stray dogs within its compound and tasked a group of inmates with taking care of the animals.
Prison authorities say the idea of the project is to help the inmates’ resocialization through their work with the dogs, while also helping solve a big problem in the town.
About a dozen prisoners have helped run the shelter for some 260 dogs since it opened in November, cleaning the facilities, feeding the dogs, walking and training them.
The idea, prison authorities said, is to help the inmates develop empathy through interaction with the animals and learn new skills they can use later in life. The inmates' duties also include teaching the dogs basic commands under the supervision of professional dog trainers. This earns them certificates that could later help with finding jobs in other shelters or with dog breeders.
The project is backed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is aiding reform in the Balkan country as it seeks entry into the European Union following years of crisis in the 1990s.
Set up in a converted former chicken farm with added open space, the dog shelter is located in the semi-open section comprising prisoners who have served at least a quarter of their sentences.