Regina Isenberg at the future home of the no-kill shelter located in Sullivan County. Photo by Ned Jilton II.
BLOUNTVILLE - The land in question is just off of Highway 126, and every inch of the 9.8-acre tract is treasured. This will be the future home for furry paws and life preservation.
Humane Society of Sullivan County President Regina Isenberg announced Tuesday the agency's recent purchase of the property on Isley Road for the purpose of constructing a "no-kill" animal shelter.
Isenberg's - and several other families' homes - now serve as a shelter for animals, mostly dogs and cats. Isenberg is passionate about this proposed center and what it can do for stray animals.
"If they are not adopted at regular shelters, they get put down, put into a landfill, and their bodies are run over by bulldozers. Doesn't that make you angry just to hear that?" Isenberg said while tending to a few abandoned kittens in her basement.
Isenberg said every inch of the proposed 7,320-square foot shelter will serve a specific purpose.
"We want to create an environment that can help make the adoption process a special one," she said.
"Also, we want to make things where the cats are a good distance from the dogs, so it's a little more soothing to them and they don't get riled up.
"Over the past year, we've had nearly 300 pets to take care of, and those have been in our homes. When you become a pet owner, it's just like being a parent, so this is a big commitment. This new shelter is going to allow us and those potential owners to have space to make decisions and really evaluate the pet before they walk out the door."
Viewing rooms for cats and dogs are part of the blueprint for the new shelter, along with additional space for the other animals.
"You wouldn't believe how many people call us with bunnies or rabbits," Isenberg said.
"When the bunnies get big, some people don't have the space or the means to take care of them. Same goes for little chicks or ducklings who turn into large chickens or ducks. We will have room for them here.
"The nature setting that we have at this site will help us to establish a bird sanctuary, which I know local bird-watching enthusiasts would love. And we're interested in developing a dog walking trail on the grounds."
Another feature they hope to bring with the new shelter is extended hours, basing that on research Isenberg has done at other no-kill centers in the South.
"People tend to adopt more between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. People are getting off work, and they don't have time during the day, and this will cater to their schedule," she said.
Building a center this size will require a large investment by the Humane Society. Isenberg said the organization has been preparing for the expense since it received its first seed money donation of $150 years ago.
An estimate completed for the Humane Society in February puts the construction cost at just under $500,000. That is minus the furnishings, cages, maintenance equipment and other necessary items.
"We've already had a pledge for 4,000 blocks to help with the building, and we are hoping that the residents of Sullivan County and the region can help us with the cost," said Isenberg.
Donations toward the project can be sent to: Humane Society of Sullivan County, P.O. Box 654, Blountville, TN 37617.
For more information call 239-5237.