Johnson City, TN

Survival Uncertain for Some Tennessee Pets - Shelters Facing Difficult Choices Volunteer State

John M. Dabbs

A tale of two cities


The animal shelter in Fayetteville, Tennessee, closed on July 1 for the foreseeable future. The closure was fallout from Animal Control and Care with Fayetteville and Lincoln County. The Humane Society of Lincon County is unable to continue providing services without governmental support. The Humane Society says they will also be unable to investigate complaints, such as abuse, cruelty, neglect, and stray animals as a result.

The shelter will continue to take calls for adoption appointments and welcomes both volunteers and donations of food, supplies, and money. They appreciate any community support they receive. We will also not be investigating abuse, cruelty neglect, or stray animals. The shelter will take calls for adoption appointments and we welcome volunteers, donations, and of course, community support.

The shelter in the southern middle area of Tennessee is seeking homes for all current animals. If they cannot find homes after an extended period, the remaining animals may have to be euthanized.

Johnson City

Pets and their owners in Johnson City and Washington County, Tennessee are in a much better position. The Washington County Johnson City Animal Shelter has continued funding and community support enabling it to reach the Best Friends Animal Society benchmark of a 90% save rate, to be considered a no-kill shelter. In 2021 Washington County Animal Shelter had a save rate of 95%.

The nationally recognized benchmark of 90% considers the medical and behavioral circumstances of animals coming into shelters. Some situations warrant humane euthanasia. Washington County's save rate has only increased in recent years. Their live-release rate was only 30% in 2013, and 62.8% in 2015 - according to Tammy Davis, Executive Director of the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter.

Davis says they made drastic changes over the last six years. New systems were put into place and new programs and initiatives were implemented to make the change possible. Davis says they rely heavily on their community of local businesses and animal lovers for help and donations.

“We have made drastic changes in the last 6 years to do everything we can to save animal lives in our community,” Davis said. “We put new systems in place and started new programs to make this possible. It has not been easy and we rely on the help we get from our amazing community of animal lovers and the local businesses that support us.”

Our funding comes from the city and county for about 50% of expenses, and the rest has to come from donations and fundraising activities to meet the needs of the shelter, says Davis.

Statewide statistics

The report card for Tennessee is a state-wide "save-rate" of 88.5% for 2021. This is much better than the rest of the U.S. for the same period. The country has seen a decrease across the U.S. for the first time in five years, according to Best Friends Animal Society.

Nearly 60% of the shelters in Tennessee reached the 90% benchmark to be considered a no-kill shelter. Unfortunately, the remainder had save rates too far below the benchmark to have Tennessee considered a no-kill state.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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