Campbell County rescue group struggles to keep up after shelter

Campbell County rescue group struggles to keep up after shelter closure

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One of the dogs being cared for at a veterinarian's office in Clinton. One of the dogs being cared for at a veterinarian's office in Clinton.
Another foster dog in Clinton. Another foster dog in Clinton.

6 News Reporter

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - After the Campbell County animal shelter was shut down because of abuse and neglect allegations about the director, a local rescue group is struggling to pick up the pieces.

"We are doing the best we can," said Friends of Campbell County Animals rescue coordinator Patricia Simpson. "We are helping as often as we can."

Friends of Campbell County Animals is the only active rescue program located in the county.

Simpson says their budget is gone.

"Right now, that's falling on our members and their credit cards," she said.

The rescue program does not have a facility and uses a foster system to temporarily house the animals.

"There is a large need here in the county for it," said foster parent Michelle White. "To foster an animal, it's a very rewarding."

White is currently fostering a dog that was removed from the shelter.

"Foster homes are key to making this program work for us," said Simpson. "If we have fosters who can open their homes and their hearts for short-term, we can get the animals to a more permanent location."

Simpson said you do not have to live in Campbell County to foster. They already have foster homes in Knox, Blount, and Anderson counties.

They are also working with neighboring counties animal shelters, but most of them are also full.

Other rescue groups outside Campbell County are also seeing the effects of the shelter being closed.

"I get calls almost every night from people in Campbell County with dogs. They have nothing to do with since the shelter closed," said Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee president Tyrine Hawthorne.

Simpson says they now have more than 40 dogs in foster homes and are filled to capacity.

"We haven't had an influx of physical animals," said Simpson. "We had an influx of calls. We've had to turn away numerous people because we don't have the resources to help."

In the meantime, the county mayor is waiting on an investigation by the TBI into the county's animal shelter before reopening the facility.

Anyone interested in fostering an animal or making a donation can do so at their website.

They are also hosting a fishing tournament fundraiser on May 18 at Well Springs Cemetery and a Run for the Paws 5K on June 1.

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