It took five years and plenty of hard work to get the Claiborne County Animal Shelter up and running. Now, not even a year into operation, the shelter faces the challenge of finding the resources to continue to operate.
The animal shelter takes in an average of 63 animals per day, most of which have been abandoned by their owners.
"They will take litters of puppies or litters of kittens they don't want and set them out in a box, set them out in a dumpster, or put them anywhere and people will find them and bring them in to us," said Liza Martz, Executive Director for the shelter.
It costs about $10,000 a month to run the animal shelter.
Martz explains, the county doesn't financially support the center, forcing the non-profit organization to depend upon the community.
Sunday afternoon, the shelter hosted a benefit dinner and silent auction at the Tennessee National Guard Armory in New Tazewell. Participants paid $100 dollars to support the Claiborne Animal Shelter, something they said they county needs.
"We live in this community and, unfortunately, we've seen a lot of strays and we've seen a lot of animals... mistreated or just neglected," said Michael Tuten of New Tazewell.
Thomas McAfee, also a New Tazewell resident, added: "In this community we have a very low rate of people who get their animals spayed and neutered, and so this animal shelter really promotes having your animals spayed and neutered and they're also able to adopt a lot of pets out."
Since the shelter opened its doors in July, nearly 300 animals have found a new home with families from across the United States.
"We've got a Bassett Hound in Toronto right now. His name is Louie," Martz said. "And we've been sending our animals to New York City, Cleveland, Ohio... People sleep overnight in the parking lots to be able to adopt a shelter dog."
Martz hopes the community will support the animal shelter through donations, allowing the organization to continue finding good homes for the animals.
Click here to find out more about the Claiborne Animal Shelter.