RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WATE) – Their mission is finding forever homes for unwanted cats and dogs, though the Grainger County Humane Society (GCHS) is trying to find a home too.
GCHS is working with county leaders in the hopes of building and maintaining a permanent shelter to safely house animals.
Rescuers tell us that right now, they rely on its foster care program and transport for temporary housing before cats and dogs are adopted.
Since 2001, Carolyn Seaman’s home has been a make-shift shelter for the Grainger County Humane Society.
She’s their Foster Coordinator and says over the years she’s saved 7,000 to 8,000 dogs, sharing, “I loved them all.”
But next year, things are changing. Seaman is retiring from animal rescue and moving up north to be closer to her family.
“My heart will always be here. I love it here,” she said.
Once Seaman moves, it means the make-shift shelter will no longer be available for intake of cats and dogs.
GCHS has reached out to Grainger County leaders hoping to undertake one to two acres of land for a permanent facility.
“That’s the first hurdle, is being heard and being recognized,” said GCHS President, Keith McDaniels.
As of right now, county leaders are looking into donating one to two acres of land next to the parking area near the Justice Center.
“I think it’s well deserved and we do need some kind of shelter for Grainger County,” said Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd.
Mayor Byrd says they are in the beginning stages and a final vote will not be made for some time.
County leaders say they have to do their homework – making sure this property is the right location because that land was set aside for the future for county facilities could expand.
“If the legislative body feels we can do the two acres there and not interfere with any future building, then that’s what we’ll do. But if we do want to preserve that for the future, then we’ll look at some other properties that the county owns,” added Mayor Byrd.
From there, it’s GCHS’ responsibility to supply the funding to build a permanent shelter facility.
McDaniels says they’re hoping to raise $100,000 and so far they’ve collected $15,000.
“I think over the last 20 years we’ve made a huge dent and a lot of progress,” he said.
Rescuers with GCHS says this change is bittersweet and they’re making plans before they lose their make-shift shelter.
“We’re finding a home, so we can find a home for them,” said McDaniels.
He tells us they’ve reached out to shelters in surrounding counties to see if they can help with some intake of cats and dogs when the time comes.
GCHS receives no funding from the county, they operate solely on donations.
How you can help
If you would like to help GCHS, you can volunteer to be a foster or you can make a financial donation to their permanent shelter fund by clicking here.