Last year, the Hawkins County Commission approved a $10,000 contribution for a new “puppy nursery” to be built as an addition to the shelter, located at 5180 Highway 11-W just east of Rogersville.
Commissioner Danny Alvis, who also sits on the Hawkins County Humane Society’s board of directors, made the $10,000 request to the full commission during the June meeting, and that request was approved in August with only a single vote to spare.
The request was made because the Humane Society facility is filled beyond capacity. Puppies are often mixed in with adult dogs, and the spread of puppy-killing diseases such as parvo was a big problem. Since being awarded the $10,000 by the county, the Humane Society has applied for a state grant to help cover the construction cost, but that grant wasn’t approved.
The Humane Society did, however, raise an additional $2,500 on its own, so it will have $12,500 to put toward the construction project this spring.
The money will be used to build an addition on the west side of the building for a puppy nursery in hopes of separating dogs 6 months old and younger from the adults to curb the spread of disease.
“We’re not sure how much it’s going to cost, but if our funds run out during construction we’ll have more fundraisers and beg for money until we get it built,” Alvis said. “Some put the Humane Society and caring for stray animals low on the priority list when it comes to funding. There are a lot of dogs at our shelter that would make somebody a good pet, a good watch dog or a good friend.”
Alvis added, “I think any person who visits the shelter, if they’ve got a heart, will see that this is a worthy project, and something our community needs.
The Hawkins County Humane Society currently holds 70 to 75 dogs and cats, and the goal is for the addition to make room for as many as 20 to 30 puppies to be kept separate from the adults.
The addition is expected to include an inside viewing area where the public can visit the shelter and look at the puppies through a glass wall.
“This will free up room where we can keep dogs 6 months and under away from the older dogs and maybe keep the parvo down and get more adopted out into the community,” Alvis said. “There will be a large window where you can view the puppies and not be in there with them. There will be several more cages, and it will free up quite a bit of space where we don’t have to put quite as many to sleep as often as we do.
“When it gets full and we have nowhere to put them, we have to make an unpleasant choice. None of us likes doing it.”
Alvis said the Humane Society is looking for contributions of building materials, skilled construction labor and funds.
Anyone interested in helping may call (423) 272-6538; visit the shelter in person; or mail contributions to Hawkins County Humane Society-Puppy Nursery Project, 5180 Highway 11-W, Rogersville, TN 37857.