KNOXVILLE - As thousands flee from the path of Hurricane Irma, animal centers in East Tennessee are preparing to house hundreds of animals evacuated from their homes.
"In two days, all four of these yards will be filled with groups of dogs," said Kresenda Frank, a manager at The Barker Lounge in Sevier County. "So far, we haven't turned anybody away."
The Barker Lounge expects to take in nearly 100 dogs over the next several days as people evacuate to the area. It is staying open 24 hours a day and employees are sleeping in the office to greet evacuees whenever they arrive.
"We know that if we were in the same situation, we would want somebody to take care of our baby," Frank said. "I can't imagine the fear that these people are feeling."
Young Williams Animal Center is preparing to take in shelter animals evacuated from Florida by asking the public for help. They are taking applications for foster families to temporarily house the animals before there is space to keep them in the shelter.
"We don't know when, we don't know how many, we are just trying to line up fosters who are interested," said Janet Testerman, CEO of Young Williams. "I think this is a great way for people to step in and do something for the greater good."
Shelter animals are being evacuated to make room in shelters for animals lost during the storm. They're expected to arrive in Knoxville sometime early next week.
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