ROGERSVILLE — As the only animal shelter in Hawkins County, the local humane society has reached capacity and is struggling to work with its limited space.

The Hawkins County Humane Society is currently caring for about 90 animals, with more than 50 cats and more than 35 dogs residing at the shelter. In addition, several animals have lived at the shelter for more than a year.

The shelter is also required to keep three dog kennels and three cat kennels open for the animal control departments that bring animals to the humane society. The shelter takes animals from Mount Carmel Animal Control, Church Hill Animal Control and Rogersville Animal Control.

Hawkins County Humane Society Assistant Manager Melissa Cooper said the shelter’s adoption rates are way down due to the rising cost of gas and food.

“Adoptions are down, and nobody’s wanting to come in and get (animals),” Cooper said. “They’re wanting to bring (animals) into the shelter. Between gas prices and food, you have your choice: feed your animal or get gas and food, and a lot of people are struggling with it.”

The shelter currently has about 100 people on a waitlist for surrendering. They are also pushing for more foster homes. The shelter currently has at least 25 foster homes hosting animals.

“We are pushing for fosters more than anything,” Copper said. “We’re just trying to ... get them out, and that will help get them socialized too.”

The humane society also offers a foster-to-adopt program that allows people to foster a dog with the intent of adopting it if the dog is a good fit for their family.

Cooper also said that since it reached capacity, the humane society has received many angry complaints from owners wanting to bring animals to the shelter. Some individuals have even threatened just to release their animal if they can’t take it to the shelter.

“When we tell them we don’t have the space, they just want to release them,” Cooper said.

Sign up to Kingsport Daily Digest!

Top stories, delivered straight to your inbox.

Some people are even abandoning their animals at the shelter. Earlier this month, Cooper came into work and found a blue heeler tied to a bench that sits outside the humane society.

“We need people to be patient with us,” Cooper said. “We’re trying our best to do what we can with what we have, and our community is really helpful. We just need people to be patient.”

Cooper also said if more people spayed and neutered their animals, it would help the humane society cut down on the stray population.

Cooper said the shelter is doing everything it can to help the situation. For example, the shelter raised $7,800 to buy two storage units they converted into kennels. These kennels can fit two animals per unit, and each unit costs $3,799.

The shelter also had to raise money this month to pay for two new air conditioning units after their 18-year-old unit and 13-year-old unit broke down last week.

In addition to fostering, people can also help the shelter by volunteering. While the shelter is only open Tuesday through Saturday, Cooper said volunteers could show up any day of the week after 9 a.m.

The shelter also has an animal day out program, which allows a person to come into the shelter during business hours and take an animal out for the day. Cooper said this helps with socializing the animals.

The shelter is also running low on cleaning supplies to keep the shelter tidy.

Try the Kingsport Times News app today. Download here from Google Play and the App Store.

Recommended Videos

Recommended for you

Trending Recipe Video