By Mike Steely
My wife and I awoke one morning to find a small white kitten crying near the fence in our back yard. We have an older house cat that will not abide any other animal in the house and even when we put the kitten in a pet carrier and brought it inside our cat, Tiger, hissed at it and scratched the carrier until the little cat cowered back into a corner.
So, what to do?
I checked the internet and called the Young-Williams Animal Center. The center has a motto: Happy Reunions Start with Us! And that certainly applies to the center’s Lost and Found Department. I took the kitten, in the carrier, down to the side door at the Lost and Found entrance and walked inside to be greeted by a very friendly and understanding staff.
After a small wait for my turn following other people with found pets, I answered a few questions, saw the kitten taken to the examination room, and left feeling like I had done a good deed.
So my curiosity was kindled. Is there anything else to know if you find a stray? What do you do if your pet is lost?
I met the following week with Monica Brown, the Shelter Director, and Amy Styles, the Marketing Director, I found both of the ladies deeply involved in the center and open to just about any question.
What do I do if I find a stray animal?
Dropping off a found animal at the shelter is FREE to Knox County residents. While Young-Williams Animal Center will accept pets from out-of-county residents, there is a $20 fee and it is not the preferred best practice. The staff recommends that those pets be taken to the appropriate shelter in the county where found, because it would be easier for owners to find them locally.
Young-Williams Animal Center’s Lost and Found Department is located at its 3201 Division Street location and it is open seven days a week from noon until 6 p.m.
“We’re the only intake facility for the county. This is where it’s best to bring any stray pet, not the Humane Society or the veterinarian down the road,” said Brown.
So far this year, more than 6,903 animals have been brought to the Lost and Found Department, 1226 just during July. In addition to dogs and cats, the shelter takes in all species. In past years they’ve seen an alligator, pigs, fainting goats, an emu, and others. The center finds homes for all kinds of animals through adoption, rescue, and transfer. Some animals are returned to owners who come and look for them.
What if I have lost a pet?
“We ask pet owners not to call about their missing pet but to come by in person to our Division Street center and check. Take for instance someone is missing a black Lab, well we have many of them here,” Brown said. She said the same is true for cats.
On the wall of the waiting room at Lost and Found is a large bulletin board with photos of missing pets. Often the staff will check the wall and then check the animals that have been dropped off. Sometimes they find the missing animal has been turned in to the center. They also maintain a log of found and missing pets. Brown said it is important for lost pet owners to check back at least every other day to see if their missing pet has been brought to the shelter.
There is a minimum 72-hour hold on dropped off pets and those brought in with identification are held for five to seven days. There is a $30 fee to reclaim a pet plus a $10 a day boarding fee.
If the pets are not claimed after the appropriate time period, they are assessed for adoption; some have restrictions based on these evaluations. Young-Williams has a foster program for animals with medical and behavioral needs. The center also works with rescue groups to help find homes for animals that are ready to be adopted. The last thing the center wants to do is euthanize a pet, but sometimes it is necessary.
What other services are available?
Young-Williams Animal Center has two locations, one at 6400 Kingston Pike on Bearden Hill, and the main facility where the Lost and Found Department is located is at 3201 Division Street. The Division Street location is just off Sutherland just beyond the entrance to John Tarleton Park. Intake of animals is only available at the Division Street location.
“Pet identity collars and microchips with up-to-date registration information greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your pet if it is lost or stolen,” said Styles, who went on to say the center will implant chips for $20 on Monday through Friday from 1 until 5 p.m.
Young-Williams always offers a high-quality, affordable Spay and Neuter Program with an aggressive outreach plan to help solve the problem of pet overpopulation. To reach more pets in need, it introduced a mobile unit, called the “Spay Shuttle,” in 2007. The August schedule calls for the vehicle to be at the Burlington Library today, Health Department on Tuesday, Alice Bell Park on Wednesday and Karns Library on Friday. Next week, the unit will be at the Teague Health Department on Monday, Chilhowee Park on Tuesday, Bower Field on Wednesday, and Victor Ashe Park on Friday. On Monday, August 31st the “Spay Shuttle” will be at Milton Roberts Park.
The cost to spay or neuter a dog is $70 and the cost for cats is $45. There are other services available such as worming, rabies shots, city tags, etc.
You can have your pet’s surgery performed at the clinic located at the Village on Bearden Hill or on the mobile Spay Shuttle. Appointments can be made by calling (865)215-6677 or registering at www.young-williams.org/spay-neuter-your-pet/spay-neuter-appointment/