EDITOR’S NOTE: This article ran in the March 14 Kingsport Times News Progress Edition.
ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Humane Society had quite an eventful year in 2019 with more than 434 dogs and 295 cats taken in, including 39 dogs and 100 cats from animal control.
We also had 382 adoptions of dogs and 120 adoptions of cats, which is a lot lower than we’d like, but still not bad.
But, I think the real highlights of 2019 were our rescues, many of which you probably read about in the Kingsport Times News.
Josie the monkey
In July a 19-year-old macaque monkey, named Josie was left in a home for two weeks with no power and a dead dog in the bathtub.
She stayed with us at the shelter and we loved every minute of it.
We had a court case over her and we placed her in a wonderful home where we get many updates.
Humane society goes to court
We were also involved in a rescue at a residence near Church Hill in August where there were 8 dogs living in horrible conditions, along with one dead dog still tied to his chain.
The community really steps up when there is abuse involved. They are so wonderful in supporting us.
The owner of the animals eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated animal cruelty and he was banned form owning animals in the future.
Cats running at large
We also had a case of an individual with many cats running at large.
We went out there several times and had a time getting them caught, we had to go before the judge to have this case resolved with (the owner) surrendering all cats.
We agreed to have two fixed for him so he could keep two, and we did do that for him.
Trooper rescued after many ordeals
Then we had a dog we named Trooper, his owner passed away and the son went to jail.
Trooper would stay in the garage waiting for his owner to return.
He would walk across the street to a neighbor’s home for food, and one day a car hit him. We were contacted by the sheriffs department and employee Andrew Hutchison went out to carry Trooper back to the shelter.
He could not walk on his front legs so he dragged himself back to the garage where his owner had lived. He was vetted and rehabilitated.
Trooper is an old boy and is still with us.
Owner, dog reunited after 12 years
We also had a case of two dogs coming into our shelter because the owner had to go into a nursing home. They were senior dogs. After posting their pictures as a bonded pair, we got an email stating the schnauzer had belonged to a family not far from the elderly lady.
He came to her house one day and she thought he was lost so she took him in with her little Toby.
Because of our post the family who had Maximus, aka Buddy, saw the post, they had been missing their dog for 12 years.
They knew it was him because at birth his ear was cut by his mommy having a C-section, so he was missing part of his ear. That was what determined he was their missing dog after 12 years.
I did not want to separate them as they were so bonded, and the family agreed to take them both. This story went viral after it hit the Kingsport Times News.
‘Jasper’ gets a new family
Then we had Jasper. He was a lab mix that a person sent me a picture of him running at large. They were very concerned because of his eyes.
Jasper came into the shelter with the help of Sonia Kutz with East Tennessee Boarder Collie Rescue. She came up to the shelter as I was so devastated because I could smell gasoline on him.
She took him to Dr. Cherry at Cherry Point Vet who confirmed he had major damage to his eyes from a chemical burn.
Once again the Kingsport Times News ran an article and a wonderful family came to visit him, they said they wanted to give him a loving home. And they sure did. I get updates on him as well.
Once again the outpouring of support from the community was just heartwarming. They are always the first to step up and help an animal in need.
The neglect and abuse will never end
We had many rescues over the last year, we took in roosters and chickens and rabbits.
We had our lonely hearts club in the paper to get adopted many of the dogs that have been here over 90 days. Some have been here almost over a year. Many got adopted, but Trooper is still here.
It seems the neglect and abuse will never end, our job will never be finished. Each day there are more to be saved, our shelter is a no kill shelter all our fur babies stay here until adopted. We have hope that all will find their fur-ever home. Let’s look forward to another year of saving these precious babies.
Sandy Behnke is manager of the Hawkins County Humane Society.