SEVIERVILLE — Everyone is on deck at the Sevier Animal Care Center as they work with animal control officials on two cases of hoarding, even as they deal with an overall increase in the number of animals coming to the center.
They are enlisting volunteers and foster parents to help out, as they have set up temporary kennels wherever they can, including their offices and guest rooms.
“I’ve watched it month after month over the four years we’ve been open, our intake is up about 37% right now compared to every other year,” said manager Ashely Thomas.
“In addition to that, we are now working on two more cases of hoarding.”
Cases of hoarding in particular can mean a surge of new animals that often have to stay for a while for medical treatment before they can be adopted.
For now, they have a list for non-emergency surrenders, she said. Between emergencies, strays, and animals coming in for local animal control cases, they just don’t have much room.
“When someone brings in a stray animal and we don’t have a kennel, we ask if you would be willing to keep that stray animal for a few days and we will give you food and take it when a kennel is available. available,” she said. .
If they can’t do that, they’ll make more space, she said. “We don’t turn people away.”
They are still committed to being a no-kill shelter – which means they have a rescue rate of over 90% – and they have worked hard to find homes for some animals that need special care.
On Wednesday, a person came to adopt a kitten who was brought in after being hit by a car last week and losing a leg.
“Spooky” had been getting a lot of attention on social media since sharing her story, and Thomas said they had someone to adopt her on Wednesday.
“Nobody wants to bring in animals and recuse them just to euthanize them if they’re viable, adoptable animals,” she said.
The increase in population at the shelter is not unique to Sevier County — she said other shelters she works with are facing the same issue.
At least here it seems to be caused by financial problems.
“It’s all based on post-COVID funding issues, whether they lose their home or have to choose between groceries, gas and pet food,” she said.
The shelter offers a pantry with pet food and supplies that it can provide to pet owners in need of assistance as well as people looking to act as pet families. welcome.
Of course, they are looking for people to adopt all available animals and have waived adoption fees for anyone willing to give them a good home.
The center is funded by money from Sevier County, Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
It was established by these governments in 2018 and still in a makeshift facility that was not originally built for animal care, but they set aside funds to build a new center on Old Knoxville Highway .
So they will soon have more space, but at the moment they are overcrowded and they might need help, she said.
They need volunteers who can come and help walk the dogs and pay attention to the cats, and they could also use foster families.
Almost all of the dogs at the center are large dogs, she said, but they can provide foster families with food and supplies so the dogs can rest from the stress of being at the center and they can free up space.
They need litter for the kennels, and they can always use dog food and litter and give to people who come to the pantry.
“We can always use monetary donations, but that’s not our focus right now,” she said.