Animal shelter program for offenders paying off

A program that allows people convicted of misdemeanors to do court-ordered service at the animal shelter has saved the government agency nearly $100,000.

The Johnson County Animal Shelter has partnered with the prosecutor’s office and county judges to have offenders convicted of low level felonies do court-mandated community service at the shelter. Offenders mop, sweep, clean cages, pull weeds and do landscaping.

The program, which started in 2012, is estimated to have saved the animal shelter about $95,000, based on 13,153 hours of community service done instead of paying someone minimum wage to do the same work, according to a news release from the shelter.

The average amount of community service hours a person works at the shelter is about 40 hours, the release said. People convicted of a minor offense, such as an infraction or misdemeanor, can be ordered to do their community service at the animal shelter.