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Recent closure of Blountville animal shelter left Bridge Home with no room to spare

Staff report • Sep 16, 2017 at 7:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The recent, temporary closure of Sullivan County’s animal shelter in Blountville left the region’s only no-kill shelter so full that animals had to be turned away.

Regina Isenberg, director of Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue, said that while the Kingsport shelter remained opened and county officials said animals could be taken there, many people chose Bridge Home instead.

The problem, according to Isenberg, is that Bridge Home is not a tax-supported shelter, and it was not designed to take in all of the county’s unwanted animals.

Sullivan County’s Blountville shelter reopened earlier this month after being closed for nearly four weeks following a distemper outbreak.

“I want the community to know that we take in as many cats and dogs as we can, and we take them in from this county and neighboring counties, but the other shelters get public funding and we do not,” Isenberg said. “We are not tax-supported, either by the city or the county. And we are not responsible for all of the community’s animals, but the phone rings all day long with people wanting to bring cats and dogs here.”

Isenberg said Bridge Home was designed to provide an alternative to the city and county shelters, but not to take their place. Bridge Home operates on donations and the proceeds from adoptions.

“Someone came to us with 12 puppies from Honaker, Va. People leave kittens in carriers at our door. We recently told a man we were too full to take in any more, but he just left his animal in its carrier outside in the heat,” Isenberg said.

Isbenberg wants to get the message out that Bridge Home takes in animals by appointment only and that the shelter needs volunteer support and donations from the community.

Tax-deductible donations are always welcome and can be mailed to Bridge Home Animal Rescue at P.O. Box 654, Blountville, TN 37617.

For more information on other ways you can help Bridge Home, call (423) 239-5237.

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