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Owner surrenders of animals take months at Young Williams Animal Center

Janet Testerman, the CEO of YWAC, said people who are trying to surrender their animals will have to wait until March.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People in Knox County who want to surrender their animals will need to wait until March, said Janet Testerman, the CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center.

"That is so we can manage the flow of animals coming into the shelter, and have space for those animals that have nowhere else to go," Testerman said. 

She said Young Williams "manages intake," and that's why the shelter asks people to make appointments before they surrender an animal. 

"It's best practice in the industry," Testerman said. 

In early December, the Knox County Sheriff's Office Animal Control team responded to a dog attack in South Knox County. The report from KCSO said Robert Wilkinson had bites on his leg, and both arms, both needing stitches. 

He told animal control officers he tried to surrender his nine dogs to YWAC, for months, but they told him the earliest they could take them in would be February 28, 2023. 

The Flatfords, who live in Union County and adopted their dog from YWAC, said their dog bit the mom twice. They tried to surrender the dog to the animal center in November but were told they couldn't until late December or January. 

The family took their dog to the Union County Humane Society, where she was euthanized. 

"We'll take an aggressive animal immediately," Testerman said. "That becomes an emergency status."

Testerman said people need to tell the shelter if their animal is showing aggressive behavior when they try to surrender. PETA said waiting lists for surrenders are common for no-kill shelters. 

"'No-kill' facilities are perpetually full, with weeks or months-long waiting lists, 'managed admissions,' and appointment-based systems," PETA said on its website. 

Testerman said YWAC is committed to taking care of and adopting every animal it can. 

"If an animal is treatable, medically or behaviorally, then we're going to do everything we can to be successful," Testerman said. 


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