In Louisiana, a Unique Partnership Brings Students, Animals, and Inmates Together

Friday, January 10, 2014 - 1:00pm
Inmate with cat carrier

At the ASPCA, we believe that innovative animal welfare organizations have the power to change an entire community. That’s why we are pleased and proud to announce our latest grant recipient: the Shelter Medicine Program at Louisiana State University.

This unique program takes LSU veterinary students and teams them up with inmates at three prisons in southern Louisiana. Together, they trap, neuter, and return feral cats to prison grounds. Trap, neuter, and return (TNR) programs have a proven benefit to feral cat colonies, and to date, this program has spayed/neutered, ear tipped, vaccinated, and dewormed nearly 350 cats!

The Inmates

Inmates who participate in this program are required to attend a veterinary seminar series, upon completion of which they receive an LSU Shelter Medicine Certificate.  Additionally, they gain sympathy for animals and experience the rewards of serving their community. In fact, three inmates have continued their education and become certified veterinary technicians. 

The Vet Students

Students in this program gain hands-on veterinary knowledge that they wouldn’t typically acquire during regular veterinary training. They get invaluable experience working with and managing feral cat colonies, prepping cats for surgery, assisting with anesthesia, and monitoring recovery. 

The Cats

TNR programs understand that cats have been living outside for thousands of years. TNR’s purpose is to reduce overpopulation while offering feral cats a better chance at long, healthy lives. After being spayed/neutered, most cats in this program are returned to their colonies. However, the friendliest cats and kittens are put up for adoption at the Dixon Prison’s Pen Pals Animal Shelter—a state-of-the-art animal shelter located right on prison grounds. Pen Pals has successfully placed 303 dogs and cats since 2010.

Glitter the Cat sitting on ASPCA staffer's lapWant to receive more news about ASPCA grant recipients?

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