Williamson County Animal Center is now open with a 20% capacity increase

Developers built hundreds of new homes during Williamson County’s population boom—its human population boom, that is. As the county’s pet population grows, the county is poised to better serve dogs, cats and their owners with a new animal center.

The Williamson County Animal Shelter held a grand opening event on February 28 at its new location at 1006 Grigsby-Hayes Court in Franklin. The new facility will welcome dogs and cats for adoption and host community events aimed at helping pet owners take the best care of their furry friends.

This is a new direction for the animal center, which previously operated in a building constructed in 1994.

“The county looked very different back then, but also, the animal shelters looked very different back then,” director Ondrea Johnson said. “As hosting has evolved, it’s less about housing animals and more about programming.”

Debra Starnes holds her former adopted cat, Sylvester, in the large cat room at the Williamson County Animal Shelter in Franklin, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

The new 35,000 square foot animal center can accommodate 88 dogs and 164 cats, a 20% capacity increase over the old building. All kennels have natural light and most give pets access to enclosed outdoor spaces that they can access at will.

There’s also room for increased community engagement through a 100-seat training room. Programming will focus on teaching pet owners how to overcome common challenges like pet separation anxiety or housetraining so they can keep their pets. This helps keep the animal center population low and healthy, as fewer pet owners will return their pets.

“I want to be a community partner and a resource,” Johnson said. “I want them to think of the center if they have a problem with their animal.”

Employees are also much more comfortable in the new center, Johnson said. The old building near Joel Cheek Park was not built to function as an animal shelter or office space, and Johnson said two employees previously shared office space in a converted bathroom.

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“We’re all here because we love animals. We love what we do. Everyone here is meant to be here,” Johnson said. “We loved our job in the old building, but we had to go back to the old building to pick up some stuff this week. We were all like, ‘How did we work there?'”

Jessica Lyndsey and her son Jack Barkin, 15, play with Rosie the dog outside the Williamson County Animal Shelter in Franklin, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Rosie was adopted later that evening.

Johnson thanked community donors for their contributions to building the new center. The donations will also fund up to 8,000 spaying and spaying surgeries per year, Johnson said.

“When I say it was a community effort, there were a lot of people who were really, really generous,” Johnson said. “It’s a dream come true for me.”

How to Visit the Williamson County Animal Shelter

The new Animal Center is located at 1006 Grigsby-Hayes Court in Franklin, near Franklin Christian Academy. The center’s civic address had not been added to navigation apps such as Google Maps at press time, and the center has detailed driving directions available at adoptwcac.org.

Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today – Tennessee network. Contact Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.

Benjamin M. Yerger