Prisoners at Otago Corrections Facility donated art work to raise funds for animal rescue charity.Donated art works and carpentry products made by prisoners at Otago Corrections Facility (OCF) have raised more than $600 at the Animal Rescue Network charity art auction in Dunedin.

“An important part of a person’s rehabilitation and reintegration is to recognise the needs of others, and identify ways that they can positively respond to that need and give something back to the community,” says Gill Brown, Assistant Prison Director, OCF.

“OCF is proud to be part of the Otago community and keen to support local causes where it can. It means a lot to staff and prisoners to be able to help the Animal Rescue Network continue their work.”

Prisoners learn carpentry skills as part of their rehabilitation, which helps them gain employment on release. Having a job in turn helps them to lead a crime-free life. Corrections also offers a range of other trades training.

Based in Dunedin, Animal Rescue Network New Zealand (ARNNZ) is a small Dunedin charity. Its goal is to reduce New Zealand’s stray cat population by trapping, vet checking, desexing, vaccination and, wherever possible, taming and rehoming wild cats and kittens. The group also works to educate the community about the consequences of not de-sexing their pets.

“Our inaugural ARNNZ Art Auction and Exhibition raised $1745,” says Michelle Cottage of ARNNZ. “Not bad for a Wednesday evening in Dunedin and all of the money raised has gone directly to our vet and care costs.

“With no public funding, we rely upon continual fundraising, the generosity of our supporters and our own pockets to fund our rescue. The support of the prison has been a great help. They provided us with a number of fabulous artworks from some very talented artists and the work from Corrections alone raised a total of $665.”

Animal Network interventions are not limited to cats. They have also rescued and rehomed dogs, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, ducks, chickens and hedgehogs.

Following on from the success of this year's auction and exhibition, ARNNZ has booked a four day event next June, with three days of exhibition culminating in a weekend auction.