Life-saving operation: Blount group finds homes for most abandoned dogs
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation transported 78 dogs from the Blount County Animal Center to new homes on Friday.“We have two beautiful vans and four really devoted volunteers who drive every two weeks to (animal rescue groups in) either Minnesota or New York,” said SMACF Vice President Julie Nelson. “They drive all night, get where they’re going, sleep for a couple hours, then turn around and come back.”
Recently, SMACF received a new, fully customized Dodge Springer 3500 Transport van, which is valued at more than $80,000, paid for by an anonymous donor. The van can transport up to 35 dogs at a time to rescues and new homes.
SMACF works hard to find new homes for the animals given up to the shelter. According to Nelson, in the past 12 months the center processed through 2,661 animals. The save rate for homeless dogs has been outstanding with only eight having to be euthanized in the past 12 months because of overcrowding at the center.
Some dogs must be euthanized because of aggressive behavior or for severe medical reasons but, including those animals, total dogs euthanized was still only 6 percent.
Because of the overwhelming number of feral cats brought to the center, the save rate for them is not as good.
“The transport program has blossomed into a life-saving relief for the Blount County Animal Center,” SMACF President Chris Protzman said. “Through a network of very passionate and professional rescues and fostering locations in Northern states and East Coast locations, we’re able to place these animals in forever homes and get them to ready and waiting adopters.”
Volunteers are working today giving baths to the dogs and getting them ready for transport. “We can always use more volunteers,” Nelson said.
The shelter, located at 241 Currie Ave., Maryville, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (adoptions only). It is closed on Sunday and Monday. The phone number is 980-6244.
Those interested in supporting the Animal Center or helping to underwrite the transport program for at-risk pets may send donations to:
Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, P.O. 7218, Maryville, TN 37802