Can Pets Visit You in Prison?

By Prison Insight Staff

Updated: November 26, 2020

In previous blog posts, I have written about how much I love my pets. My cat Dale and my dog Titus are my fur babies, and they are an important part of my family. Dale is three years old and Titus is four, so they didn’t become part of my life until after I left prison. I’m thankful that I didn’t have pets when I went to prison because I would have been heartbroken to leave those sweet faces in someone else’s care.

Today’s post also answers a question about pets in prison, and I already knew the answer to the questions without doing any research. However, I wanted to get someone else’s perspective on the topic, so I contacted my friend Mistie Vance.

She is currently serving her sentence at Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Missouri. She’s been incarcerated for 11 years, and I love hearing Mistie’s perspective about the questions that we receive here at Prison Insight. So, let’s get to it and answer the question: Can pets visit you in prison?

In today’s post, Mistie will cover the following topics:

  • Pets are not allowed to visit a prison inmate
  • Pets would cause mass chaos in a visiting room

Pets are not allowed to visit a prison inmate

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed to visit you in prison. Personally, I think it would be a very entertaining experience. Think about it, one person brings their cute little chihuahua Paco, another brings their tabby cat Skittles, and the next thing you know the chase is on! 

Add a few more animals to the mix, and you have mass bedlam! Parrots flying, hamsters hiding, a ferret pooping behind the puzzles…inmates laughing, visitors screaming, and children squealing with delight. Sounds like fun times to me!

Seriously though, as much as I happen to like the idea, it definitely has its drawbacks. Since many pets are hairy, and lots of people are allergic to pet dander, that wouldn’t work out so well. 

Then there are the people who have had traumatic experiences with being bitten or mauled by dogs (or people who have seen the movie Cujo), who practically have a full on panic attack anytime there is a dog within fifty feet of them! 

And we can’t forget the little yipping ankle biters who simply can’t enter a room without taste testing all the delicious ankles available.

Pets would cause mass chaos in a visiting room

For those whose tastes run a little more toward the exotic, let’s talk about what would happen if someone was to bring their twelve foot long Boa constrictor to a visit. If I was at that particular visit, I can assure you I would die of fright before the dreaded thing could come anywhere near me! 

If I were to feel something slithering up my leg, I would probably take someone else out trying to get the heck out of the room! Lizards would be fine though – Geckos and Bearded dragons and Savannah monitor lizards. Although some people might fear them in the same way I fear the snakes.

Let’s say a person likes their pets of the somewhat larger variety, maybe a goat or a sheep or even a horse! Not only would they take up a lot of space, but can you imagine having to clean up all the poop? You would need the world’s largest pooper scooper (not to mention the awful smell that would permeate the entire room). 

People everywhere would be gagging on their vending machine chips and sandwiches trying to avoid vomiting and making an even bigger mess! The next thing you know, Paco the teacup chihuahua is being trampled under gigantic horse hooves and somebody gets arrested for assault on the horses owner. Very bad situation!

Perhaps only super tiny furry friends should be allowed. What could possibly go wrong with bringing your brother’s hamster or your cousin’s pet squirrel? It’s all fun and games until Henry the hamster runs up the correction officers pant leg and they have to shed their uniform right there in front of God and everybody. 

Trust me, someone is going to the hole for a really long time! And you can be sure that particular officer won’t be working the visiting room ever again in life. As much as I wouldn’t mind seeing it, I sure wouldn’t want to be the one with a rodent up my pant leg!

In conclusion, if it were up to me, pets would be allowed to visit you in prison. Keep in mind that my decision making skills have led to me being incarcerated for the last eleven years flat! 

As much as it would be somewhat therapeutic, and very heartwarming to have a bunch of various animals in a prison visiting room, it’s just not a very good idea. For reasons of safety, security, sanity, and smell, pets won’t be visiting any prisons anytime soon!

Do you think pets should be allowed to visit a prison inmate? Let us know in the comments below.

Essay from inmate Mistie Vance
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