Building Little Houses in the Big House

Published by Alisa Mullins.

People from all walks of life support PETA’s “Angels for Animals” doghouse delivery program—including some who can really relate to lonely “backyard dogs” who have been sentenced to life in “solitary confinement”: prison inmates.

PETA member Jim Conroy is the special investigative supervisor at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (NEOCC), and he often receives PETA e-mails about our doghouse delivery program. He was so inspired by the “before” and “after” photos of the dogs who have benefited from our program that he wanted to do something to help.

Bear the Dog Before and After

Fiesty the Dog Before and After

Jim started donating regularly to the program, but in the summer of 2014, he had a brainstorm: Why not put inmates to work for animals? NEOCC has a carpentry class that teaches inmates practical job skills. Jim pitched the idea to NEOCC Warden Michael Pugh to have inmates in the class build doghouses like PETA does and donate them to local humane societies and police departments. The inmates would be helping needy dogs and learning a valuable skill at the same time—it was a win-win situation for everyone. PETA provided Jim with the doghouse building plans, and he approached the local Home Depot, which donated the majority of the supplies.

Northeast Ohio Correctional Center builds doghouses for needy dogs (1)

PETA member Jim Conroy, PETA staffer and resident doghouse builder Fletch Davis, and NEOCC carpentry instructor Darryl Heavrin

The inmates built more than 70 doghouses, which they donated to PETA and local animal protection groups, and they continue to produce up to 15 doghouses per month. Since the program was such a huge success, we are hopeful that it will continue to grow and that other correctional centers will implement similar programs.

Northeast Ohio Correctional Center builds doghouses for needy dogs 5

Northeast Ohio Correctional Center builds doghouses for needy dogs (3)

What You Can Do

Please support PETA’s “Angels for Animals” doghouse program. PETA’s sturdy doghouses and straw bedding are often the only things standing between cold, lonely “backyard dogs” and a miserable death. While delivering doghouses, our fieldworkers and volunteers also regularly check up on dogs and take them toys and treats, too.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind