Several years ago, Betsy, one of our incredible volunteers recognized a need for more sub-permittees (aka home care) during our busy season. We admit nearly 8,000 animals into our hospital each year, the majority of that number being orphaned babies. While our homecare volunteers are absolutely incredible with raising the many orphaned animals we get each season, there is only so much capacity each person has- they are stretched thin and we often find ourselves needing more sub-permittee support. This is when the Prison Program was born. At one point, we had five prisons participating in this program, until COVID momentarily stopped the program, but thanks to David, our Hospital Manager, we currently have three prisons participating. Marion Correctional raises songbirds and ducklings; Richland Correctional raises rabbits, opossums and squirrels; and Madison Correctional raises mealworms for us. Meet John, Pat and Brady (from left to right, also pictured with Mandy and David), the three men who take care of our animals at Richland Correctional Institution. John has been a part of the program since it began at Richland in 2019, Pat since 2020 and Brent began in the spring of 2022. These men have a long list of requirements they have to maintain to be in the program and stay in the program. They are responsible for charting, monitoring behavior, logging weight/appetite, feeding (note: feeding infant wild animals is NOT easy), cleaning and changing enclosures, etc. We provide all necessary training, supplies, food, and medications needed so the animals receive the best care possible.
These three men take incredible pride in this program and in the care they provide for these animals. They are absolute pros when it comes to feeding and caring for such delicate creatures.