HCHS assistant manager Emily Christie told the Times-News on Wednesday that the shelter has seen a drastic increase recently in animal abandonment.
In one recent case, four 6-month-old hounds were abandoned by their owners, who moved away and left the dogs in a kennel with no food or water.
Luckily, the dogs were saved in time by the HCHS, and now they are at the shelter awaiting adoption
Two other puppies were abandoned recently at a residence with "No Trespassing" and "Beware of the Dog" signs, so neighbors were hesitant to go onto the property to get the dogs.
The HCHS was able to catch one of those puppies, a 10-week old shepherd mix. It now has the privilege of staying in the shelter's front office during the day to greet visitors.
The second puppy has eluded capture to this point.
The HCHS's cat capacity is 55, and it currently has more than 110. The dog capacity is about 40, and the shelter currently has more than 60.
Christie said the HCHS expects an influx of puppies and kittens this time of year. That's partly Mother Nature's fault.
But it's also the fault of irresponsible owners who don't spay or neuter their pets, and when the babies are born, they are abandoned as soon as they're weaned.
The obvious solution is spaying and neutering.
But when that hasn't happened, owners compound the problem after the fact by dropping the animals off in some unsuspecting neighborhood.
"Instead of just dropping them off somewhere, it would be better for them to just bring them here, because that would save us the trouble of having to go out and catch them," Christie said. "We're a no kill shelter. I think one reason people drop off their animals is because they think they'll have a better chance for survival out there than here at the shelter. Actually, they’ve got a much better chance of survival with us. We keep them here until they have their 'fur-ever' homes."
Christie added, "What ends up happening is the dogs and cats that get get dumped on the street turn feral, and after that happens it's much harder to get them adopted."
The HCHS is also in need of volunteers, as well as donations of cleaning items, towels, blankets, trash bags, and paper towels.
For more information about making a donation or adopting a dog or cat — and the free professional photography portrait that comes with that, call or visit the shelter at 5180 Highway 11-W in Rogersville. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.; its phone number is (423) 272-6538.
You can also keep up with HCHS news by visiting its Facebook page.