SEVIER COUNTY - The Sevier County Humane is moving back to its Gatlinburg location after nearly four months operating out of the Sevier County Fairgrounds.
With summer on the way, the county needs the fairground space back.
When the wildfires first happened, the Humane Society had volunteers lining up to help. Now that a few months have gone by, finding volunteers isn't as easy, which makes the move all the more challenging.
On Sunday, five nursing students from King University in Bristol helped the SCHS move. They broke down kennels and packed up. On Monday, they’ll move all of the animals back in.
"We chose this project just because they were so affected by the fires in this area," Valerie Jordan, a student volunteer said.
While the shelter is glad to be going back to a familiar space, there are some mixed feelings about the move back home.
"We've really enjoyed the location here. It's tripled our adoption rates," Michael Sorey, the shelter manager said.
A more visible location brought huge success for the shelter, now going back brings concerns.
"It's a little hole in the wall, back in the sticks. Our traffic and adoption rates are going to go down and we're disappointed about that," Sorey said of their hidden Gnatty Branch Road location.
Operating out of the fairgrounds made the shelter more accessible, while the old facility is continually in need of repairs.
Sorey said they won’t be in the Gatlinburg location for long. They are working on building a new facility. The Sevier County Humane Society Board acquired land off of Newport Highway, a more central location. They have about $300,000 dollars set aside for the new shelter, but they estimate it will cost about $1 million.
“We are getting there day-by-day with every donation and it means the world to us, but really for the animals,” Sorey said. “It’s more lives that can be saved.”
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