Kids Flock to Jail's Animal Sanctuary for Easter Egg Hunt Hosted by Inmates
Local kids were invited to hunt for 9,000 plastic eggs and play with rescued sloths, alpacas and bunnies at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Animal Farm.
It was an Easter egg hunt for the entire community as local families were invited to celebrate the season at an inmate-run farm in Florida.
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More than 1,100 kids, parents and grandparents flocked to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm Sunday to hunt for more than 9,000 plastic eggs and visit with rescued sloths, alpacas and bunnies for the organization’s annual Easter party.
Unlike most Easter egg hunts, the entire afternoon was set up and facilitated by inmates at the Monroe County Jail.
Other than the barbed wire atop the 15-foot fences and the orange uniforms worn by working inmates, the farm on detention property was transformed into a family-friendly environment, APTN reported.
"During the course of the function, [inmates are] holding the animals for people to touch and interact with," Becky Herrin of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office explained. "A little bit of empathy for animals is a good thing [for inmates] to learn.
Herrin told InsideEdition.com that up to four inmates classified to work outside are responsible for feeding and taking care of the farm's animals on a normal day.
Three inmates were in charge of running the Sunday's event.
“It’s a position in high demand for the inmates," Herrin said. "They get to be outside, which is always a good thing when you’re locked up all the time."
Their farm, which is home to 150 animals that include miniature horses, birds, and a python, is open to the public twice a week for free or by donation, and undergoes vigorous inspection from the USDA and local veterinarians.
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Herrin explained that many of their animals were formerly abused or abandoned, and come to their farm for a better life.
A group of their African spurred tortoises were rescued from a drug house in Colorado, and a horse sent over by the SPCA was blind and starving upon rescue.
"They certainly have a better life here, than prior to coming to the farm," Herrin said.
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