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This Animal Rescue Farm Is Built Under A Jail And Run By Its Inmates

“As long as we have the animals here, we can find our peace and tranquility here."

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The Florida Keys may be popularly known as a relaxing vacation destination, but it's also home to a county jail where inmates can learn to care for rescued animals on an actual farm.


The facility is built 11 feet off the ground for hurricane safety.

Selander, a marine biologist, joined the Monroe County Sheriff's office as a non-sworn deputy in 2006 to run the Keys Animal Farm, which was was first established in 1994.

"They had just a few animals," she told BuzzFeed News. "It was pretty dirty and needed some repairs and some love."

Over the last 10 years, she has garnered donations to build new habitats and plant grass. She's also worked with rescue organizations across the country to find abandoned or abused animals a forever home at the farm.


The inmates must apply to volunteer at the farm and must meet certain requirements to join. Selander said all of the volunteer inmates are serving time for non-violent offenses.

The inmates help with everything from feeding the animals, to helping with their medical needs.

The farm also draws an average of about 150 to 200 people when it opens its doors to the public every second and fourth Sunday of every month.

On Sunday, a record 1,070 people visited the farm.

All of the profits from the entrance fees goes back into the farm.

"If they're local, and they get back out, they actually come back and bring their kids and families to the farm," she said. "That’s a good feeling to know they loved it enough that they came back and wanted to share that with people."

"We just enjoy doing what we do here," he said. "It's a wonderful experience. I believe as long as we have the animals here, we can find our peace and tranquility here."

"I pick up the inmates and they just breathe a sigh of relief when they walk outside that jail door and get to be with the animals," she said.

Leticia Miranda is a retail reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Leticia Miranda at

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