‘No-kill’ status is a feat to be celebrated!

‘No-kill’ status is a feat to be celebrated!

Young-Williams Animal Center has achieved “no-kill” status for the first time in the shelter’s history, saving 8,311 pets in 2018.

As the official municipal shelter for the City of Knoxville and Knox County, Young-Williams Animal Center has to legally take in every animal besides owner surrendered pets. This is regardless of how sick or injured. An open intake facility reaching a save rate to be considered a “no-kill” shelter makes this feat even more remarkable.

In order to attain the designation, a shelter must save all healthy and treatable animals. The generally accepted goal is for an overall save rate of 90%, which Young-Williams Animal Center has reached. We followed industry gold standards and best practices to implement innovative programs and engage our motivated volunteer base to reach this goal.

Municipal open intake shelters are not usually synonymous with no-kill, but through education, messaging and addressing the root issues leading to unwanted and homeless animals, we’ve made great strides toward our mission to find a home for every pet.  We provide second chances for as many animals as possible.

The Pet Resource Center has been a major source of support for owners looking to surrender their pet due to financial, housing or other issues.

We know that more than 40% of people who consider surrendering a pet don’t want to at all! They just don’t know where to turn for help.

So, Pet Resource Center staffers step in to provide solutions such as pet-friendly housing options, lower-cost vet care, Pet Food Pantry assistance, animal behavior tips and more.

Another service of the Pet Resource Center is to help those owners with the private re-homing of pets. This ensures the well-being of the pet and reserves shelter space for animals that have nowhere else to go.

In total, the Pet Resource Center provided assistance to keep 94 pets in their homes and resources to privately re-home 198 pets, keeping nearly 300 animals from ever entering the shelter in 2018.

We also have strong adoption and foster programs: last year, 5,772 animals were adopted from Young-Williams Animal Center, and 1,928 animals were placed through the foster care program.

Through expanding our foster services to include specialized and innovated programs, it has become an integral part of our lifesaving initiatives. We depend on the community who are willing to temporarily care for animals such as those that are too young for adoption or that need a little more socialization and human interaction before going to a ‘fur-ever’ home.

With the passage of trap, neuter, vaccinate and return (TNVR) ordinances in both Knoxville and Knox County, starting in 2019 we can control cat overpopulation by bringing in stray cats for spay/neuter surgery and vaccination, and then return them to the environment in which they were found – another great step for our community!   

The core reason for pet homelessness is overpopulation, which is addressed through spay/neuter programs. Our Spay/Neuter Solutions program, which provides lower-cost surgeries at Young-Williams Animal Village and a mobile shuttle that offers spay and neuter services for Knox and neighboring counties at locations across Knoxville and Knox County, is another way we address this community need.

Saving 90% of our animals and achieving no-kill status is a remarkable accomplishment and a great reason to celebrate for our center, staff, volunteers and community.  

We all want to be part of a success story with a happy ending, and we can’t achieve these milestones without community support.

Thank you to those who support us financially and through donations of goods and services. A heartfelt thanks to the 930 volunteers who donated 16,000 hours to the organization in 2018. Each of you have played a part in this momentous milestone.  

We’re not stopping now – we will continue to move forward with our laser focus on finding a home for every pet and saving lives of animals so deserving of a second chance.