New program at Jeffco Jail benefits Foothills Animal Shelter

-A A +A
By Deborah Swearingen

Dogs at the Foothills Animal Shelter now have new beds to lie in thanks to a new program for inmates at the Jefferson County Jail.


The program, which began in September, teaches inmates to sew by refurbishing old bedding materials into dog beds.

“This is product that would otherwise be going to landfills,” said Jeffco Sheriff Jeff Shrader. “It just makes sense that we would partner with an organization like (Foothills Animal Shelter).”

Though just one or two inmates can participate at a time due to space and equipment limitations, approximately 70 dog beds — large and small  — have been made since the program’s inception.
The partnership benefits Jeffco inmates in a variety of ways, including teaching them a new skill and increasing productivity by providing inmates with an opportunity to show responsibility, work ethic and diligence.

Inmates also have a chance to earn time off their jail sentence when they are productive.
“I think they even see a sense of worth in doing something for animals,” Shrader said.

The week before Christmas, Shrader and other members of the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office delivered the newly made dog beds to Foothills.

“We’re just excited to be able to do this at Christmastime,” Shrader said. “ … It lends itself to the spirit of people, even in the jail, who are doing something that (is) productive and positive.”

Jeffco inmates are not the only ones who benefit from the program, though. As a nonprofit organization, Foothills Animal Shelter counts on donations such as this one to survive.

“We’re working with about 9,200 dogs, cats and critters every single year, so we really rely on the support of our community members,” said Amanda Plank, development manager with the shelter. “Bringing in dog beds, towels, blankets, toys, treats, all of that good stuff we truly need here. And it really benefits the homeless pets in our community.”

Snuggling up

When Shrader set down the beds in the lobby of Foothills Animal Shelter, several of the pups snuggled up.
Generally, the shelter houses anywhere from 200 to 400 animals at a time, though it has space for up to 600. The donated beds will go in kennels in the adoptable dog area and behind-the-scenes for dogs who are waiting for treatments or who’ve been recently transferred to the Golden-based animal shelter.

“The support of those in our community during the holidays, it truly means the world to us. This is definitely the busiest time of the year for us with donations, and honestly we’re putting it to hard work here,” Plank said.

To learn more or donate to Foothills Animal Shelter, visit  www.foothillsanimalshelter.org.
Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.