42 cats euthanized after infection sweeps shelter

Local News

A Sevierville animal shelter responded Tuesday to online claims that they are euthanizing a large number of healthy cats and dogs.

Pets Without Parents posted on their Facebook page denying that they would be euthanizing a number of dogs Tuesday and explained a number of cats they euthanized on Monday were sick and had to be put down. 

Lory Souders, the president of Pets Without Parents, said Tuesday that they have been bombarded with animals in recent days and about 50 cats fell ill with a respiratory infection. A vet came on Monday and had to put down 42 of the cats. 

“Many cats had been sick for months,” Sauders said.

Souders added the organization never euthanizes healthy or non-aggressive animals, but some animal activists claim the shelter is not doing enough to properly care for the animals and prevent disease from spreading. 

“I don’t think they’re taking care of the animals,” Trudy Davenport, protestor, said. “I really don’t. I think they’re under staffed, I think they’ve taken in too many animals, I know they’ve gone out and picked up stray animals. If you can’t take care of what you’ve got, don’t take any more in. Send them to Sevier County, send them to Knoxville shelters.”

There were several protestors outside Pets Without Parents on Tuesday morning, expressing their concerns about the animals’ euthanization. 

“I don’t want this to be a thing where people just show up today,” said one woman outside the shelter. “We’re not trying to completely bad-mouth anyone that works here because they do care and they are trying, it’s just a difference needs to happen; something needs to change.”

Daniel Langston, a former director at Pets Without Parents, posted to his Facebook page saying that over 50 cats had been euthanized and many other dogs were set to suffer the same fate Tuesday. 

Pets Without Parents is a non-profit organization that describes themselves on their Facebook page with a mission “to provide a safe facility along with compassionate and loving care to canines and felines in need.” “We seek to educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering pets to help decrease the overpopulation that is presently persistent in our community. We work to promote humane treatment of animals thus eliminating animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect.” 

The shelter was closed this week to complete staff training and maintenance work, according to their Facebook page.

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