KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Monroe County is one step closer to getting a new, more spacious animal shelter.

The Monroe County Friends of Animals has officially contracted with a construction company to begin building the new shelter. After years of fundraising efforts, the nonprofit officially raised the $4.3 million needed to open a new space. According to a release from MCFA, an angel donor, who wished to remain anonymous, stepped up to make a huge donation toward the new facility.

When the animal shelter first opened up in the county, the facility was meant to be temporary. However, in the nearly 18 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.

Plans for a new permanent facility were approved by the council in July 2021, but the organization couldn’t secure funding, until now.

The goal is to break ground on the new shelter by the end of July. To learn more about fostering or adopting an animal at the Monroe County Animal Shelter, click here.

“We are humbled and gratified by this friend’s remarkable gift, which allows MCFA to move ahead with this significant project. While the commitment allows us to begin work and we are close to our goal, we have not yet crossed the finish line. We look to you and others in our community to be inspired by this gift and donate the needed funds to complete the initiative,” reads a letter to donors from MCFA board members.

The organization added while they are able to begin work, an additional $500,000 is needed to complete the project. MCFA shared that when they received bids for a contractor, all of them “came in over their original amount, due to rising costs.”

Jim Barrett, a longtime volunteer and current MCFA board member, shared that “the group has reduced costs by delaying certain elements of the shelter’s total design in order to move ahead with building a much-needed, permanent shelter for Monroe County.”

If you would like to learn more about the project or donate, visit Raising the Roof: We Need a New Shelter – MCFA (