Franklin Tomorrow hosted the seventh anniversary of its monthly FrankTalks conference on Monday morning at the Williamson County Animal Center’s new site at 1006 Grigsby-Hayes Court in Franklin.
Ondrea Johnson, WCAC Director, Samantha Anderson, Community Education Coordinator, and Scott Pieper, Community Outreach Coordinator, made up the guest panel and recap the animal center milestones from 2021.
WCAC celebrated its new center in March, which replaced the old 13,000 square foot facility on Claude Yates Drive in Franklin.
It is expected to support the county’s needs and growth through 2040. It consists of a 17,000 square foot building containing an adoption area, cat and dog visitation rooms, an enclosed cat patio, reception services, isolation and quarantine areas, a testing area, a volunteer center, offices and a veterinary office, and a surgical suite, according to the WCAC website.
The center can accommodate up to 186 cats and 88 dogs. However, Johnson hopes to prioritize countywide education, adoption and promotion programs to keep the animals in loving homes and out of the shelter.
“We have a lot of capacity here in this building to engage the community and help the community, [like] a pet pantry for people who… struggle to feed their pet,” she said. “We are partnering with OneGenAway and also GraceWorks to provide pet food in the community. So this is just one example of how we can create programs here in this building that will not only help the community, but help keep pets out of shelters. The purpose of this building is not to store animals; it’s to keep animals away.
WCAC also offers full assistance to those wishing to foster animals from the center. It provides all food, medical needs and supplies for the foster animal.
Additionally, it offers low-cost rabies vaccines and microchipping services and low-cost, sometimes free, sterilization and spaying surgeries.
“It used to be only if you were in a certain income bracket that you could use our services,” Anderson said. “Now we have a larger scale so many people can now use our services at different prices, which we are delighted with.”
Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the center’s programs. For example, interested children ages 5-12 are encouraged to read storybooks to protected cats on certain dates after attending a required orientation.
Review of the year 2021
Pieper shared the center’s admission and adoption numbers from 2021.
It housed 4,202 pets in 2021, including 1,269 dogs, 2,775 cats, and 158 other animals. The shelter had a live release rate of 96.9%, which equates to 3,919 animal lives saved. There were 2,113 adoptions, including 706 dogs, 1,261 cats and 146 other animals; 323 dogs and 59 cats were returned to owners in the county; and WCAC performed 3,304 sterilization surgeries. He also distributed over 7,500 pounds of pet food.
Williamson County residents volunteered 21,533 hours of their time at the center last year.
“All statistics [I’ve] shared are all the ways services and programs have impacted our mission statement, which makes Williamson County, Tennessee better for animals through adoption, education, enforcement, and control of the pet population,” Pieper said.