Surrendering Animals

Stray/Found Pets

Young-Williams Animal Center is the housing facility for all stray/found pets in the City of Knoxville and Knox County. If you’ve found a pet in the city or county, bring it to our Division Street location between 12-6 p.m. daily.

In case of emergency, such as an injured or aggressive stray animal, call animal control.

City of Knoxville Animal Control: (865)215-7457

For Knox County Animal Control: (865)215-2444

Orphaned Kittens

If you find newborn baby kittens, please resist the urge to pick them up and bring them in, unless they’re in immediate danger (rising flood waters, etc.). It is likely that they have not truly been abandoned, and they have a better chance of survival if they remain with their mother. And unfortunately, our shelter does not have the resources to save every kitten that comes through our doors.

Mama cats have to leave their babies from time to time to search for food for themselves, relieve themselves, or just take a break and have some quiet time. They may be gone up to 8 hours, but are usually not far. If you only see one or two kittens, it’s possible the mama cat is in the process of moving her kittens.

If they look “safe” leave them alone, and allow the mom to care for them. She knows how to do this better than any humans do. Monitor the area, checking every few hours. Approach quietly and cautiously. If mama is near, and she feels that you are a threat to her babies, she will move them. Usually the first place she chose for them is the safest one for her little ones. If you handle them, or make a pest of yourself, she’ll be forced to move them to another location that may not be quite as safe.

If mama cat doesn’t come back, or the kittens are in imminent danger, you can care for them on your own with some help from our friends at Maddie’s Fund who made these awesome videos to guide you.

Giving up your pet

We understand there are times when pet owners cannot keep their pets and need to find them a new home. While Young-Williams Animal Center does not turn any animal away, we want to be honest with you: taking your pet to any animal shelter should be your last resort. Shelters, including ours, are temporary holding facilities designed to house a large number of stray/lost pets at one time. While our goal is to provide quality care for every animal we house, it will always be a loud, scary and stressful environment for most pets and not all will make it up for adoption because of medical and behavioral issues outside the scope of resources we’re able to provide – some as a direct result of the stress an animal encounters after arriving at the shelter.

That’s why we highly recommend exhausting all alternatives before bringing your pet to the shelter. Here are some things you can do to find your pet a new home:

  • Reach out to family and friends to see if they can take your pet
  • Post on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) and include adorable photos or video
  • Post flyers at local vet clinics, pet stores, coffee shops or churches
  • Advertise on websites like Craigslist (DO charge an adoption fee and screen adopters. If you need help with this, just let us know and we’ll give you some tips)
  • Contact local rescue groups, especially if your pet is a purebred. They have networks of foster homes that are familiar with certain breeds.

If your reason for giving up your pet is because you can’t afford pet food, we have a free pet pantry program that can help! Click here for more information:

If you are experiencing behavior problems with your pet, such as potty training/not using the litter box, jumping, running away, scared or hyper, we may be able to help! Our staff are knowledgeable pet lovers who have lots of experience with a wide variety of common unwanted behaviors. Not sure if we can help? Try us. If we can’t help, we probably know someone who can!

If you have exhausted all your options, and the shelter is truly the last resort, we want you to know a few things:

  • We do not put animals up for adoption that are aggressive towards people or other pets.
  • We do not have resources to treat, fix or manage major medical problems for owner-surrendered pets.
  • We cannot guarantee that your animal will be put up for adoption.
  • If your reason for giving up your pet is “no time,” please know that our adopters are average people, just like you. We’re happy to talk with you about things you can do to enrich your animal’s life so they can stay with you and be happy.
  • Calling ahead of time to see if we have space to take in your animal is very much appreciated. During busy times, like spring and summer, we have hundreds of dogs and cats that we’re caring for and sometimes don’t have a free cage to put one more who could spend one more night in its home.
  • Fill out this form honestly and completely, and bring it with your pet when you surrender.
  • Make a donation to help us care for your pet. We are a nonprofit that provides a valuable service to our community and couldn’t do it without financial support. Even $5 would make us very happy, and you can donate safely and securely here.

Appointments are required to surrender your pet to Young-Williams. To surrender your pet to the shelter, please call (865)215-6667 or come to 3201 Division Street to make an appointment in advance. Owned animals dropped off at the shelter without an appointment are required to pay a $50 drop-off fee.