The Hawkins County Humane Society board of directors and staff hosted a groundbreaking Sunday to celebrate the beginning of construction of an addition that will serve as a puppy nursery. Photo by Jeff Bobo.
ROGERSVILLE — There are occupied dog cages in nearly every corner of the Hawkins County Humane Society (HCHS) due partly to a couple of major rescues in recent months in which dozens of animals were seized.
Even before those two raids, however, the HCHS recognized the demand for a puppy nursery which would separate the puppies and kittens from adult animals, freeing up space and hopefully curbing the spread of diseases.
Fundraising began about a year ago, and last week work began on a 12-foot-by-56-foot addition that will serve as the puppy nursery.
Sunday afternoon the HCHS board of directors and staff hosted a groundbreaking and ribbon cutting to celebrate the beginning of construction and also announce a new fundraiser to help pay for the project’s completion.
The addition was originally planned to go out 14 feet from the west end of the building and extend 40 feet in width.
The westward expansion had to be shortened to 12 feet, however, due to a required setback from the neighboring property line.
The width of the original building is 56 feet, so the HCHS board of directors recently decided to extend it the width of the building make the addition 12 feet by 56 feet, or 672 square feet.
But, HCHS board member Danny Alvis said that’s going to increase the construction cost by about $6,000.
“We’re going to move forward with construction, and do fundraising along the way,” Alvis said. “God willing, by the time we need it, the funds will be here.”
HCHS staff member Sandy Behnke told the Times-News that puppy diseases like parvo can be a serious problem, especially when the facility is overpopulated.
“Anything under six months of age needs to be separated from the older animals so that they stay healthy,” Behnke said. “We’re going to have a (puppy) intake area, outtake area, bathing area, grooming, and the nursery, which will have a viewing window for the public.”
Behnke added, “We’ve done two major rescues over the past year, so we need space. We have animals (in cages) in the hallways, we have them in the office, because we have no place for them.”
Sunday’s ceremony was well attended by HCHS volunteers, staff, and board members, as well as several Hawkins County commissioners, County Mayor Melville Bailey, and Church Hill Mayor Dennis Deal.
“We have gotten donations to make this possible, and we want to thank the public for its help,” Behnke said. “But, we want to especially thank the Hawkins County Commission for a $10,000 contribution it made toward this project last year. Without that donation this project would not be happening. But, we still need to do fundraisers and we need donations to make this happen.”