KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Construction on the new animal shelter for Monroe County is on schedule and Monroe County Friends of Animals is $200,000 away from reaching their fundraising goal.

The new Eastbourne Animal Center is expected to be complete by Summer 2024. MCFA needs $200,000 to meet its $4.7 million goal and to finish construction.

To help them meet their goal, a group of anonymous donors have agreed to double the donation of anyone who gives $1,000 or more through the end of October.

“Now is the perfect time to make a difference. Your donation will help us close our 5 percent gap in funds needed to build the new Eastbourne Animal Center,” said Cheryl  Ulmer, chair of MCFA’s board and the Raising the Roof, Raising Hope for Animals capital campaign.

The shelter was named after the center’s largest donor, whose gift provided the funds needed to begin construction in May 2023.

 “We are extremely humbled and grateful for this generous gift and the donations of over 200 others that allowed us to begin construction on a new, permanent animal center for the community,” said Ulmer. “Now, we’re reaching out to everyone who cares about the welfare of animals and our great community, to help us cross the finish line.”

The new facility will include:

  • Larger, higher-quality living quarters for dogs, with both indoor and outdoor compartments
  • Cat suites with proper two-compartment housing units
  • Visitor areas to meet privately with pets and encourage adoption
  • Separate intake, holding, adoption and quarantine areas
  • A medical suite with exam and surgery rooms to provide better animal care
  • Materials and equipment designed for better animal care and easy cleaning
  • Proper surface coatings, nose control and air handling to ensure a safe environment

When the animal shelter first opened up in the county, the facility was meant to be temporary. However, in the 19 years since opening, the shelter has outgrown its space. At the end of 2022, the nonprofit shared with WATE that it was in desperate need of adoptions and fosters because they were over capacity.

“It started with the recognition that we needed a new center,” Ulmer said. “All of this is supported and driven by volunteers like Eastbourne and many others who stepped up to meet this great need.”

All of the money raised to build the new shelter is from private donors and does not include taxpayer dollars according to a release from MCFA. To donate, visit or call MCFA at (513) 316-0363.