Sevier Animal Shelter Director: ‘It’s just one small miracle after another this whole year’

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A milestone is just days away for an East Tennessee animal shelter. The Sevier Animal Care Center soon marks one year of finding forever homes for cats and dogs.

On Nov. 1, 2018, the shelter officially opened its doors. Shelter director, Ashley Thomas, says there have been ups and downs, though she’s reflecting on the many lives they’ve saved the last 365 days.

The county’s previous shelter, Pets Without Parents, closed permanently at the end of June 2018. Pets Without Parents had received backlash for overcrowding concerns and questions about euthanizing animals.

Every day comes with the possibility of a new home and an empty kennel.

Cameron Ray signed the paperwork on Wednesday to adopt a dog named Leigh, “She’s kind of quiet now but she’s very active. We got to spend some time together and I’m looking forward to giving her a forever home.”

For the last year, the Sevier Animal Care Center has been home to so many animals.

“When we came in here there was nowhere for stray animals to go and now I can just scroll through the list on my computer and it’s just name-after-name of those who’ve been adopted,” said Thomas.

Since the end of September, Thomas says, in total the shelter has taken in 1,870 animals.

RELATED: Sevier County family adopts ‘hero’ dog who saved child from stray dog attack

“We have maintained from the beginning of 95-percent save rate. That’s including every animal that comes in our doors, goes into those statistics,” added Thomas.

She credits this success from working with area rescues, fosters and help from the community, “It’s just like one small miracle after another this whole year and everything coming to us exactly as we need it.”

This upcoming year, there are plans to build a permanent shelter, as well as create new programs like children reading to dogs and volunteers signing out dogs for walks.

“One of the biggest things I want to accomplish this year is filing for grants so that we can start a T.N.R. program. In order to slow down our kitten intake, we’re going to try and hit Trap. Neuter. Release for community cats,” said Thomas.

With 365 days coming to a close, it’s the animals that create excitement for tomorrow.

“A lot of times people think of an animal shelter as a sad, scary, lonely place but I find that our shelter is a place of hope. A place of new beginnings for everybody,” Thomas added.

How you can help

If you’d like to volunteer, foster or donate you can call the shelter at (865) 465-6300 or for a full list of needed supplies, click here.

(Photo: WATE)

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