KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Area animal shelters look to build on their success from this past year when it comes to successfully adopting animals and keeping intake numbers low.
Jefferson County Animal Shelter and Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville took in hundreds fewer animals in 2012 than in 2011.
Workers at the shelters give much of the credit to low-cost spay and neuter services, saying that more people are taking advantage of the programs.
The shelters also report donations were up this year.
"By far it's been our best year ever. Our intake is down dramatically, our adoptions are up, rescues are up and the support from the community has never been better," said Jefferson County Animal Shelter Director Melissa Descant.
The Jefferson County shelter was also able to improve its facilities thanks to a grant from the PetFinder Foundation, and that means healthier and happier animals.
More funding was also provide for the low-cost spay and neuter program.
"We are saving more than we have to put down. The donation boxes that we have set up in the community help to fund out transports and we're just able to keep animals longer, so give them a better chance," added Descant.
Young-Williams Director of Outreach Amy Johnston says the workers there were surprised by the number of donations they received since becoming a non-profit organization.
"We really saw the donations. We had twice as many furry friends sponsorships this year than we did in 2011," said Johnston.
Young-Williams took in 641 fewer animals in 2012 than in 2011, and euthanized fewer as well.
"I feel like other shelters, especially shelters around Knox County, are definitely following the same trends that we're seeing. You're seeing a lot more low cost spay and neuter facilities in other counties," Johnston explained.
They shelter workers say their goal is to increase awareness and make sure owners look at the shelter for their lost pets rather than giving up.
Last year, Young-Williams saw only 12 percent of animals that came in be reunited with their owners.
Even so, that's almost 1,700 animals that were returned home.
The Jefferson County animal shelter is seeking wet food donations for both dogs and cats.