Busted: Inside the Bele Chere Doggie Jail

Xpress visited Asheville’s cutest convicts at the Bele Chere Doggie Jail. A far cry (or bark) from Alcatraz, proceeds from this rather posh and comfortable hoosegow go to Animal Compassion Network, a local foster and adoption organization whose many goals include finding “lifelong, stable and loving homes” for animals.

For now, join us on a tour through the (actually quite comfortable and pleasant) caverns of … Doggie Jail, 2011.

The impervious perimeter: The view through the chain-link fence shows cages and cool, green grass, two elements that “inside dogs,” the street term for incarcerated canines, must learn to bear during Bele Chere.

The warden: Evan McCurry of Animal Compassion Network watches over the festival’s pet penitentiary, which means that he keeps your dog safe, well-fed and comfortable while you walk around in the sun pretending that you bought that can of Tecate from an authorized festival vendor.

Softened criminal: “Cornelius” (not this dog’s real name) tells Xpress what it’s like to see the world through the black slats. “I’m treated well, of course,” Cornelius says, “but I wouldn’t mind checking out some craft booths, eating some stuff I know I shouldn’t … anything really.”

Cautionary tail: “Take it from me, dogs of Asheville,” Cornelius warns. “Don’t try to sneak in. I told them I just had a lot of body hair, but that almost got me arrested for indecent exposure.”

Man’s best (in)mate: “Barclay” tells a different story than Cornelius. “Yeah, I did it. I went to Bele Chere. They can’t hold me here forever. I will be on the street tomorrow drinking a Bud Light Lime.”

On second wag: “Wait, no beer on the streets tomorrow?” Barlcay says. “Nevermind. I’ve got a tennis ball and knot of pig bone. I think. But seriously, can you go grab a dog a Bud Light Lime? I’ll buy, you fly.”

Dogged fate: An empty cage with water pail, tennis ball and white rug await the next offender. Could it be you?


Don’t sprint from the law. The Doggie Jail accepts dogs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Cost is $5 for the first hour, $4 for subsequent hours, with a maximum of $20. For more information about ACN, visit http://www.animalcompassionnetwork.org.

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