Days after the Sevier County Humane Society surprisingly announced it would no longer accept stray and surrendered animals, Pets Without Parents shelter in Sevierville rushes to prepare for an influx of animals.
In June, Pets Without Parents learned it would be caring for half of the animals surrendered in Sevier County. That's after the Sevier Co. Humane Society, city and county leaders failed to come to financial terms.
Now, Pets Without Parents will be taking in all stray and surrendered animals from Sevier County.
"It was a big shock," Pets Without Parents president Lory Souders said. "We're working hard around the clock just to get this facility ready to do."
Pets Without Parents currently has 125 to 130 animals, but the number of strays the humane society cared for is significantly greater.
"The humane society was taking in 600 last year just from the county and city, but that doesn't include what they were taking in from the community. So I think there were about 3,000 in the community and city and county," Souders said. "We're going to have to do a lot to get them new homes."
Despite the unexpected additional responsibility, Souders says Pets Without Parents is ready for the challenge.
"It was like it was meant to be," Souders said.
Just over a year ago Pets Without Parents moved to a larger building off Chapman Highway on a six acre lot.
"Getting this facility when we did, renovating at the quality that we did inside of this building, having the room for dog suites and the volunteer base and staff that we have here working it, it was almost perfect timing for us," Souders said.
Pets Without Parents is currently expanding its facility to include a 4,000 square foot kennel space plus an area for animals to be outside.
Pets Without Parents expansion will cost $80,000 with $60,000 already funded.
Souders says people wanting help shelter during the transition period can help by volunteering, donating kitty litter, Purina Pedigree dog and cat food or various cleaning supplies. Souders says any financial help is also gladly welcomed.