KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The CEO of Young Williams Animal Center said the center has taken more animals in this year than it had in the past five or six years. This August, CEO Janet Testerman said the center took in more than 1,100 animals.
"Young-Williams is taking in more than 10,000 animals a year," said Testerman. "That being said, anywhere from an average of 32 to 40 animals a day."
Summer is the busiest season for the shelter, Testerman said, because it's breeding season for many of the animals. Though summer is busy, this summer is especially busy for animal shelters across the country, she said.
"It's an industry-wide conversation," Testerman said. "Shelters around the country are experiencing increased intake."
Testerman said she thinks shelters are taking in so many animals because spay and neuter services stopped during the pandemic.
"It was really a period of time where there was increased breeding," Testerman said. "We didn't have spay and neuter ... That was where we were able to really address the core of pet homelessness."
She has advice for people who want to help. First, she said people can adopt pets if they're ready. If people want to make a shorter-term commitment, she said they can foster pets, and Young Williams will provide everything they need to care for the pet.
Lastly, she said donations help. The animal center brings in over $6 million to operate. About $2 million are funded by the City of Knoxville and Knox County.
Testerman said the good news is people are still adopting pets.
"We've had a record number of adoptions," Testerman said. "It's been really terrific to see the community step up."